The president of the nation's largest teachers' union joined a man who identifies as a woman in teaching transgender ideology to an Arlington, Virginia, kindergarten class last week.
Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association (NEA), joined with Sarah McBride, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in reading the books I Am Jazz and Julián Is a Mermaid to young children at Ashlawn Elementary School.
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"I have a girl brain but a boy body," McBride read from I Am Jazz, the Washington Post reported. "This is called transgender. I was born this way."
"I'm like Jazz," McBride told the children. "When I was born, the doctors and my parents, they all thought that I was a boy."
"Because society, people around them told them that was the case," McBride continued. "It took me getting a little bit older to be able to say that in my heart and in my mind, I knew I was really a girl."
McBride asked the young children, "Can some girls have short hair? And can some boys have long hair?"
"Anyone can be anything," said one little girl in response to McBride.
According to the report, McBride "came out as transgender" after ending a term as American University's student body president. He said he wanted to advocate for tolerance on a national day of reading led by the NEA.
"For young people, being kind and being respectful is quite simple," McBride said. "LGBTQ young people are their classmates, their friends. They may be LGBTQ themselves. And so, this just makes sense. No one's ever too young to learn to be nice."
Eskelsen García said it was necessary to advocate for LGBTQ individuals because the Trump administration was no longer granting them special protections.
"We have seen a complete, literal rollback of the protections for students, especially transgender students," she said. "The Trump administration has been openly hostile, whether or not you're a transgender soldier or a transgender little boy or little girl. It is more important than ever before that we speak out."
In February 2017, the Trump administration discarded former President Barack Obama's policy based on gender ideology. The policy required school administrators to validate the claims of children who say they have the "gender identity" of the opposite sex. As a result, schools were forced to allow children to share bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams with boys or girls of the opposite sex who claimed to be transgender.
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"No one's ever too young to learn to be nice." -- @HRC's @SarahEMcBride. @HRC Foundation and @NEAToday's #JazzAndFriends readings brought communities across the country together to show support for transgender and non-binary youth. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/in-a-virginia-school-a-celebration-of-transgender-students-in-a-kindergarten-class/2019/03/03/10fc9f90-3b7e-11e9-a06c-3ec8ed509d15_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.233e4a067f33 ...
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In a Virginia school, a celebration of transgender students in a kindergarten class
The event was part of a collaboration between the National Education Association and the Human Rights Campaign.
The NEA and HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools Program sponsored the reading event, which marked the start of the 2019 Read Across America campaign. NEA Today, the union's media outlet, said the focus of the reading event is "diversity in children's literature."
"NEA believes diverse literature enables students to see themselves as the heroes of the story, while also showing them that all kinds of people can be the heroes too," said Eskelsen García in a statement. "It is important that we emphasize books that are telling children of color or of different gender identities that they belong in the world and the world belongs to them."
The HRC Foundation states:
HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools is the nation's premier professional development program providing training and resources to elementary school educators to welcome diverse families, create LGBTQ and gender inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.
The Ashlawn kindergartners' teacher is Jaim Foster - a gay man who lobbies for LGBTQ causes. According to the Post, he said that while the Arlington school district does not have a specific curriculum to teach young children gender ideology, he shares experiences about his own life and provides books such as Heather Has Two Mommies and My Princess Boy in his kindergarten classroom.
"We talk about it all the time, in one way or another, of accepting families and differences," he said.
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