An Evidence Based Approach
The Eastern Australian state of New South Wales has mandated that teachers refrain from teaching Gender Theory in public classrooms after a recent independent review.
The idea of reclassifying the two genders into a deconstructive series of ever more niche sub-genders has been derived from 1990’s ‘queer theory’ and has been highly contested within the sciences and even social sciences since its inception.
According to the NSW Education Standards Authority’s statement of equity principles;
“…curriculum and support materials should reflect evidence-based research, not highly contested ideas that feature few if any empirically derived findings.”
There will be a state-wide halt to the teaching that sexuality is constantly changing, “non-binary” and that gender is purely a social construct with no biological influence.
A Comprehensive Overhaul
A formerly introduced edict that demands teachers “de-gender” their language is likely to also be scrapped as part of the overhaul of the 11th and 12th grade sex education scheme known as the crossroads program. This also includes the scrapping of a 17-page Teacher Toolbox Resource, an Affirming Diversity package that was aimed at 10th Grade students, which utilized sexually explicit case studies and teaching aids such as the “Genderbread Person”.
One of the toolbox’s sections, portrayed as an LGBT anti-bullying campaign, had prompted some teachers to introduce gender fluidity to students, a concept which is not a mandated part of the curriculum.
Former Education Minister Adrian Piccoli had ordered a review into the scientific basis of the aforementioned materials in light of complaints by some faculty staff and parents. This prompted a secondary review which has led to an updated list of resources that should not be used in NSW classrooms. This list of banned topics has now been presented to state schools as part of the reform package that seeks to end the promotion and utilization of materials that are in contravention of federal public education guidelines.
Gender theory and its creeping influence on government-run education has been a controversial topic; in tandem with the related and equally divisive Safe Schools program.
Critics of the ban have stated that the existence and acceptance of transsexual and gender-queer people causes no harm other than to people’s prejudices. In short, being allowed to pick and choose key sexual identity traits outside of established norms should be a given.
However, the Australian and international medical professions treat expressions of gender dysphoria as a debilitating medical condition. Some sufferers undergo long and costly procedures to physically alter their outward appearance and hormonal balance in order to stave off depression or to feel like they belong.
The normalization and trivialization of such a serious condition should not be done in public classrooms, according to proponents of the ban. Generally, supporters of the change argue that these programs encourage adolescents to merely imagine their gender identity instead of emphasizing the biological and social basis for why and how gender norms exist in a broader societal context.
They argue that empirical evidence is far more empowering to teenagers undergoing sex education and that it forces them to address key personal concerns instead of hiding behind an imagined safe space.