Social engineering in Portland’s schools

July 28, 2022 • 11:30 am

Christopher Rufo, a conservative who writes for the conservative City Journal, has a report about schools in Portland, Oregon that would be unbelievable if he didn’t provide ample documentation. This issue is the kind of indoctrination—for that’s how I see it—that Portland students get in elementary school from kindergarten through grade 5.  This means that the material is given to children from age 4-11, children who are quite young.

I’ll let you read it for yourself; it’s short and explains what is expected at each grade level. Here’s Rufo’s introduction:

Portland Public Schools has launched a war against the “gender binary” and adopted a radical new curriculum teaching students to subvert the sexuality of “white colonizers” and begin exploring “the infinite gender spectrum.”

I have obtained a cache of documents from a source inside Portland Public Schools that exposes the nature of this curriculum. The lessons seek to turn the principles of academic queer theory into an identity-formation program for elementary school students; it has been adopted in many of the district’s K-5 classrooms.

The premise is simple: privileged white heterosexuals have created an oppressive gender system in order to dominate racial and sexual minorities. As the curriculum explains, “gender is colonized,” and Western societies have used language to erase alternative sexualities. “When white European people colonized different places, they brought their own ideas about gender and sexuality,” the curriculum reads. “When the United States was colonized by white settlers, their views around gender were forced upon the people already living here. Hundreds of years later, how we think and talk about gender are still impacted by this shift.” (When reached for comment, Portland Public Schools wrote: “We make certain that our curriculum is LGBTQ+ inclusive for students who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming, gender-queer, and queer to create a safe and inclusive environment for all of our students.”)

And you can see all this in the documents here (a better link than the one to the “cache of documents” in Rufo’s piece above), along with the age groups recommended for each set of lessons. Rufo summarizes them briefly in his piece, and you should read his take, checking up from the official curriculum at the preceding link. His take is pretty much on the money.

What bothers me most is that at the end of the fifth grade, students must pledge themselves to social change in the obvious ideological directions. Rufo:

By the end of fifth grade, the curriculum explicitly asks students to make a “commitment to change,” according to the dictates of gender ideology. Students receive a list of six commitments, including: “I commit to learning more about what LGBTQIA2S+ words mean and how they have changed over time”; “I commit to learning about the history and leadership of Black trans women”; “I commit to practicing pronouns and correcting myself EVERY time”; “I commit to attending QSA/GSA and being a leader at my school”; and “I commit to watching and reading books, movies, and TV shows that have LGBTQIA+ characters.” In other words, they commit to becoming political activists for queer theory and the broader sexual revolution.

Heres’ the pledge, from p. 153 of the 198 pages of lessons:

Is this a reasonable way to teach children from ages 4-11? I don’t think so; I see it as a form of indoctrination into extreme gender theory. Some of it should go into health class, but this is a full-court press, and is inappropriate and propagandistic. Nowhere do the kids get to question a doctrine being rammed down their throats.

Moreover, once this gets out, and it will, it’s going to be used against Democratic candidates far and wide. It was, after all, a product of a Democratic school system.  And if people get riled up about anything, it’s about people propagandizing their children. Just imagine the Virginia gubernatorial election as a paradigm of what could happen.

87 thoughts on “Social engineering in Portland’s schools

    1. You can probably still see the elementary school curriculum here. Parents are able to opt out of part of it. Still, it does not seem age-appropriate; the first-graders are already learning about the difference between circumcised and uncircumcised penises. (Click on the link for parents and caregivers) https://www.pps.net/Page/15891

      I think the people who came up with this curriculum (nationally funded organizations) had good intentions – they were trying to protect the youngest children from abuse and bullying (which are obviously valuable goals). But as a parent, I think this curriculum is not age-appropriate, and it promotes an ideology that is not universally accepted.

    1. LOOKS BAD? The data are provided and you can check for yourself. And the school is removing the lesson plans as fast as they can, but it’s too late. I explicitly said that Rufo is a conservative who works for a right wing think tank, but also let you see the lesson plans for yourself.

      So what, exactly, do you dispute about what Rufo says, given that he provides all the supporting evidence? (I put up one graphic to support what he said.) The school district is responding by trying to hide the evidence (see first tweet). And they put this policy into place; it’s being used. This reflects the Zeitgeist.

      I suppose you don’t “consider the source” when the New Yorker writes something, do you? Frankly, I put the source upfront so people like you could check it out. When you can look at the data yourself (the lesson plans), and see what they say, and you STILL quibble about “waiting for the dust to settle”, then we know that you are objecting to the politics of the source rather than the facts.

      So tell me exactly: what do you find unconvincing by “considering the source.”

      1. According to Twitter posts, the slides are not part of any curriculum and it is not at all clear they have been shown to any students at all. I’m not saying that these tweets should be taken as truth either, of course. Assuming Rufo or his friends didn’t make these slides up completely, all we really know is someone in the Portland Public Schools created these materials. Actually, we don’t even know that. Perhaps someone got them from elsewhere and was using them as examples of what NOT to teach. Obviously, I am not making any claims of truth here. I’m just saying that we need more evidence and that Rufo is NOT a disinterested journalist but a political flame thrower.

          1. If I were a parent in that situation, I would opt to home-school.

            I am terrified by the fact that, not realizing how seriously close our nation came to constitutional crisis on 1/6, and feeling justifiably furious about postmodern incursions into K-12 education, many people will hold their nose and vote “R” come election time.

            Liberals of all stripes need to push back hard and publicly against this idiocy – the ideologues will of course call this “backlash” – or else they will effectively concede the moral high ground to the extreme Right.

            1. I find myself in the unprecedented situation (for me) of despising both parties nearly equally.

              I can’t stand the insufferable religiosity of the right and its “pro-life” ideology.
              And I can’t stand the wokeism that has taken hold of the left.

              The GOP may come to regret its win with Roe (by the way, it’s sad that we’ve been forced to see the Supreme Court Justices as mere politicians). I think that without it they were bound to win the upcoming midterm elections and possibly even the 2024 presidential election by a wide margin, as many centrists, moderates, and traditional liberals must be sick and tired of the association between the Democrats and the woke lunacy, and without the overturning of Roe the GOP would have stunk much less.

        1. Can you give us a link to some of those Twitter posts? And how do you know the people posting to Twitter are being honest?

          BTW, we do know who the person who at Portland school posted the slides is….And that person promptly began deleting slides…..Look at my comment under #1.

        2. >Rufo is NOT a disinterested journalist but a political flame thrower.
          Who are these “disinterested journalists” of which you speak. On either side? And mainstream media is officially part of “entertainment,” and thrives on looking for puddles of gasoline to torch.

    2. I think we need to accept that political leanings often influence what a journalist will cover, but does not indicate a necessary bias in the reporting.

      1. Nonsense. Christopher Rufo isn’t a journalist anyway. And he’s announced his bias publicly. He tweeted that he planned to use “CRT” as a label in order to attach as many bad things to Democrats as he could.

        From Wikipedia’s article on Rufo:

        According to The Washington Post, Snopes and New York, Rufo has misrepresented contents of diversity training programs and course curricula.[6][30][16] For example, he falsely claimed that a diversity consultant hired by the U.S. Treasury Department had “told employees essentially that America was a fundamentally white supremacist country”, and urged them to “accept their white racial superiority”; however, the diversity consultant had said no such thing.[6][16] Rufo denies the Washington Post’s characterizations, saying, “This is an absurd position that only an ideologue could believe.”[31] Rufo has also falsely claimed that a course curriculum in California called on students to honor the Aztec gods of human sacrifice and to commit “countergenocide” against white Christians, which the curriculum did not do.[30][16] He also falsely claimed that a document by an Oregon school district “calls for adopting the educational theories of Brazilian Marxist Paulo Freire” and advocates turning students against the Marxist “revolution’s enemies” and into the “liberated masses”. However, the document had no reference to revolution, its enemies, or the liberated masses. It only referenced Freire’s call to treat education as an act of liberation and mutual humanization.[16] Rufo claimed that staff resources at the school district “assumes” that whites are born racist; however, the document only urged teachers to move beyond the “belief that you aren’t racist if you don’t purposely or consciously act in racist ways”.[16]

        Cathy Young, someone this website has quoted often and complimented, had a lot to say about Rufo’s work: https://www.thebulwark.com/chris-rufo-and-his-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-afghanistan-take/

        1. Well, I wouldn’t trust the WaPo, NYT, Snopes or (these days, sadly) Wikipedia, so one really needs to investigate further.

          Yes, Rufo is a conservative (and I’d disagree with him on many issues), but he seems to have been in the right on CRT. And yes, he did indeed publicise the label “CRT” as a means of attacking CRT-style teaching in schools, and he openly said that that’s what he was doing. But that’s fair enough, we need shorthand labels when discussing things.

    3. My school district, in the Northeast US, was using gender indoctrination materials last spring. Not as offensive as these ones, but also pretty bad. Showing videos stating that a feminine boy is really a girl and a masculine girl might be a boy. I have little doubts that this was indeed shown to kids in school. It is added to sexual education – added to the lessons about gametes and puberty. They are expanding these lessons to include gender ideology and it looks pretty bad even in the not as woke US NE (at least less woke than Portland, OR).

    4. No. Rufo did not invent CRT. He EXPOSED it. It is not surprising for a far left publication like New Yorker, that doesn’t believe CRT un schools exists at all, to put out this hit piece. And going back to this crap to discredit Rufo’s story is classic ad hominem.

  1. Portland elementary school kiddies will at least be ahead of most of us in knowing what all the symbols of “LGBTQIA2S+” (or next week’s version) stand for. The champions of LGBTQIA2S+ism in the Portland school bureaucracy (and others) are, as usual, providing invaluable help to the national Republican Party. This is their historic function, like that of the Weather underground of the 1970s. But the Weathermen never got anywhere near the education bureaucracy; their counterparts today will fulfill this historic function so much more effectively. And, like Nixon, Reagan, and Co., the
    Republicans of today will not utter a word of thanks to them, at least not aloud.

    1. I assume you have some unstated reason for posting these statistics. My take is that they are good news. With each succeeding generation, fewer and fewer people are ashamed or fearful of how they sexually identify themselves.

      1. I assume he’s wondering whether there is an element of social trendiness in such self-labelling. There are (for example) lots of youths identifying as “bi” even though they’ve only ever had sexual relations with the other sex. It’s just a trendier thing to be, and avoids being put in the low-status “cis, straight” box.

        If it were merely a matter that it’s now more acceptable to be LG or B, one would also expect increases in older people, but that’s a vastly smaller effect.

        1. The other way to think about it is that the proportion of people who are left handed has increased dramatically this century in the United States. When you stop stigmatizing something, more people express the preference or identity.

      2. My take is that they are good news.

        I’m afraid I am not so optimistic, but I hope I am wrong. I tend to believe that people who spend a lot of time thinking about their gender identity or focus on exploring their sexuality become excessively self-absorbed and this eventually leads to depression. In my view, it is far better for one’s state of mind to focus on something outside yourself, like your work or your family.

        Like I said, I hope I am wrong and that GenZ will prove to be be the happiest generation of them all.

      3. Do you think that in our species over 20% of people have a natural tendency to be of a gender unrelated to their sex, and that this has been hidden up to now due to arbitrary cultural norms? I suppose that’s possible, but it doesn’t seem to make much sense from an evolutionary perspective. We’re clearly a sexually dimorphic species, after all, and there’s no reason to believe that our minds have curiously escaped the forces of natural selection and that, consequently, gender has but a tenuous connection—if any—to biological sex. In fact, if that were the case, the whole notion of gender would not even exist!

        1. “Do you think that in our species over 20% of people have a natural tendency to be of a gender unrelated to their sex, and that this has been hidden up to now due to arbitrary cultural norms?”

          This is not what the poll is saying for Generation Z. It includes people that identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, who view their sex and gender the same. My guess is that out of the 20% only a small percent identify as trans.

          1. Sorry, you’re right. This is what I meant to express “…of a gender identity or sexual orientation not predominantly aligned with their biological sex”.

            I believe that such a high percentage in Generation Z is probably due to it being kind of cool and edgy in that group to adopt a “non-conformist” position. I find it extremely doubtful that over 20% of humans truly feel that way but keep it to themselves due to social norms.

            By the way, the fact that a much lower percentage of LGTB proneness is what prevails—and has always prevailed—just about everywhere, strongly argues against all this being merely cultural, as some claim. If it were all cultural, it’d be an astonishing coincidence. But it’s not astonishing because it’s related to our evolved human nature.

          2. Far and away the largest difference across generational groups is in the “Bisexual” category. About 15% of GenZ identify as bisexual (compared to 6% of Millennial and 1-2% of others). This seems like the identity with the lowest cost:benefit ratio, and the identity most likely to be adopted as a costume. Hell I might even come out as “non-binary” if it gets me that next promotion.

        2. It would be hard to extract real data, but I bet most LGBTQ Baby Boomers and earlier generations lived their lives in the closet. They too were claiming (bc they were forced to) that they were something they were not, and instead were forced to pretend to be straight, lest be ostracized, fired, assaulted, etc. I can’t imagine the generations of depression and misery that was experienced by those varieties of people.

          1. I know quite a few male homosexual baby boomers. The ones who had been closeted (one even married with children) all came out when the stigma was gone (late 90s/early 2000s). No surprise to anyone in most of the cases, except for the married one. The closet in the 1980s just meant they didn’t talk about it, and one didn’t ask. One was very sorry for the ones who one guessed were homosexuals pushed to conform by their families and/or their woman friend in love with them. But one would never have dared ask them, for fear of imposing on them or embarrassing them or oneself for such inquisitive thoughts. I didn’t even dare ask my brother, who says he wasn’t really sure himself all through his teens.

      4. That may have been true before homosexuality became perfectly acceptable. It is not true for the recent changes that are purely ideological. I am very happy that I grew up at a time (70s and 80s) when young people were not nudged to “identify” as anything, when occasional same-sex attraction and experimentation and abhorrence for Barbie doll femininity were not immediate reason to attach any labels to me. I did not even once worry about or wonder how to call my diverse sexual attractions or try to hide them, they were just there and fun. They are part of my individuality, and did not make me part of a “community”. To “identify” with my sexuality, a bodily function, is like identifying with my height or natural hair color. I have no idea why sexuality is supposedly such a huge part of my “identity”.
        According to current official sexology standards used in surveys, I am 100 % bisexual (did the test for that one — even if you were in love with a woman only once, vs. 10 times with men, or had sex with a woman only once in your life, they call you fully bisexual), possibly also trans (didn’t do the test for that one, if they have equally low standards as in the bisexual category, I will fit there perfectly), but I don’t “identify” as such, and it would be a bit misleading, as I am clearly recognizable as female and the heterosexual tendency is the dominant one in me. According to studies, in women, the diversity of sexual attractions is merely a function of sex drive. The stronger the sex drive, the more diverse the objects get that you can feel attracted to — during the hormone onslaught of puberty, I have occasionally felt sexually attracted to a child or to animals (I had quite a fixation on sex fantasies with crocodiles at 12), and seeing “insert your card” on an AMT machine made me wet every time well into my thirties.
        Note how they don’t include pedophilia or attraction to animals in their letter soup — no tolerance for the poor people with a lifelong obsession with children or horses who nevertheless exist, and as long as they do not molest anyone are just as worthy of respect as anyone, even more so, thinking how the have to restrain themselves. Note also how the woke always mix up sexual orientation and outward conformity/identification with gender stereotypes as if they were one and they same, they aren’t.

        1. So you think homosexuality is perfectly acceptable? Tell this to evangelicals. Tell this to the Republican Party. Tell this to the Supreme Court that may overturn the nationwide legality of same sex marriage. There is no question that LGBT people are better off now than ever, but the non-acceptance of their sexuality by certain segments of the population, with greater political power than their numbers would suggest, place the expression of an important part of their identities in great danger.

        2. Great post.

          While it’s true that homosexuality is not yet perfectly acceptable, as Historian observes, the rest is spot on. Although… I have some reservations about “the poor people with a lifelong obsession with children” part: of course it’s not their fault, and so they deserve our understanding, but I’m not sure that our being completely accepting of the inclination (provided it’s not acted upon, of course), too nonjudgemental and open-minded about it, might not have the unfortunate effect of weakening the self-restraint that they might otherwise have. Unfairly as it may seem, inducing in them a sense of deep shame concerning their condition might redound to the benefit of everyone (including them).

          That’s how incentives and deterrents work in society regarding all kinds of behaviors and proclivities, after all. Shaming and censuring people for inclinations whose potential consequences we judge seriously detrimental to society may seem unfair, given that libertarian free will is an illusion and no one is ultimately responsible for their inclinations, but it is effective in causing restraint, and thus necessary.

        3. What part of the country do you live in where homosexuality is 100% acceptable? There are still many counties where the majority oppose same-sex marriage and view same-sex behavior with disgust and as a sin.

    2. The interesting thing about those statistics is that no such increase is happening in older generations.

      “LGBT” is the LATINX of sexuality…….and the theories and ideologies that ground the “T” are highly homophobic and misogynist.

      Please google “Tavistock Clinic” to see what happened today as Tavistock is among the largest center for sex/gender issues.

    3. Gee Lysander I feel left out. I must be the worst kind; A old, white, heterosexual male born in 1941. What are we called. Ah, I remember; “Cancelled”

  2. Yeah, this is bad politically for the Democrats, and I agree that it’s not appropriate. Kids shouldn’t be required to take ideological pledges, especially in grade 5.

  3. privileged white heterosexuals have created an oppressive gender system in order to dominate racial and sexual minorities.

    That’s an easily testable hypothesis. Just look at societies that haven’t been oppressed by white heterosexuals and see what gender system they have. My prediction is that they are all based on biological sex.

    1. No need for any predictions. That’s the way it is — with occasional, and indeed interesting, fuzzy edges — and it is well documented in extensive anthropological and historical literature.

    2. “Titania” and I would be fascinated (as Mr. Spock would say) to survey the gender structure of a society oppressed by Black lesbian trans-women.

    3. Yup. My Thai wife reports that the kathoey are most emphatically not viewed as actual women. So even in a society where ‘ladyboys’ have been a notable cultural feature for generations the reality of biological sex is still unquestioned.

  4. “Give me a child till he is seven years old, and I will show you the man.” Loyola. Or Lenin. Or Mao.

      1. I got stuck in a school run by Southern Baptists for a year. It was supposed to be a “good” private school, but turned out to be almost a Madrassa.
        Even kids raised entirely within that community can one day see the truth of things, and almost immediately join the rest of us.
        A kid who has had their body and mind messed up by puberty blockers, hormones, and antidepressants cannot easily go back, and those who have been convinced to undergo “affirming” surgery can never do so.
        Perhaps you will take the view that you will just never let things go that far. Well, it is not up to you. It becomes a new variation on the plot to the old after school special. But instead of discovering drugs in Johnny’s room while picking up laundry, you find estrogen tablets and lithium. The school will go far out of their way to keep you from learning about this beforehand, much less asking for your consent.
        One of the ways they get away with this crap is that most normal people will just refuse to believe that this could happen here, or that nice Ms. Crabtree at the school would ever even want to subject a healthy child to such treatment.
        People on this forum argue that the author must be fabricating this out of political bias. The problem is that anyone who shines a light on any of this is absolutely going to be labeled a Nazi, and the whole weight of the Trans/Industrial complex will focus on destroying them.

        The truth is, it is happening, and not just in Portland. It happened to us. Your family might be next.

        1. It absolutely can and does happen. The gaslighting is really upsetting.

          I am a Portland parent who is the farthest thing from a right-winger. This new curriculum goes beyond any sense of what is reasonable.

  5. Thankfully, here in the UK ( “TERF Island” as trans rights activists call it) gender identity ideology is rapidly losing ground.

    Today, the closure of the NHS Tavistock gender identity clinic for children has been announced. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62335665
    It follows an extremely critical inspection report and comes in advance of a switch to a proper evidence-based policy with regards to children with “gender nonconformity”.

    Yesterday, black lesbian barrister Allison Bailey won key parts of her employment tribunal for victimisation and discrimination against her for holding gender-critical beliefs. It follows a similar outcome a couple of weeks ago in the case of Maya Forstater.

    Thanks to Forstater, gender-critical beliefs are now legally protected under the UK’s Equality Act. Consequently, Sex Matters, an advocacy organisation that she helped found while her case was making its way through the legal system, notes:

    Employers should ensure that their policies about the expression of religious and philosophical beliefs, including beliefs about gender identity and about Stonewall, are even-handed.

    If individuals are free to express their allegiance to Stonewall with rainbow-coloured lanyards and pronoun badges, they should also be free to express their gender-critical views with lanyards that read “Women: adult human female” and badges that say “sex matters”. If the workplace encourages, facilitates and engages with an LGBTQ+ Forum, it should be willing to provide a Gender-Critical Forum with the same level of encouragement and access.

    Employers may find that it is simpler to discourage the active promotion of any kind of belief in the workplace, and ask employees to concentrate their efforts on doing their jobs.

    To avoid being sidetracked into fractious debate about sex and gender issues, employers, schools, universities and other institutions should ensure their policies use the language of the Equality Act – such as sex (man, woman, male, female), mother and transsexual / gender reassignment – and the generalised protections against harassment and discrimination, and avoid trying to go “beyond the law” into promoting areas of contentious belief.

  6. Here is the beginning of the Wikipedia article on “acquired homosexuality.”

    Acquired homosexuality is the discredited idea that homosexuality can be spread, either through sexual “seduction” or “recruitment” by homosexuals or through exposure to media depicting homosexuality. According to this belief, any child or young person could become homosexual if exposed to it; conversely, through conversion therapy, a homosexual person could be made straight.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acquired_homosexuality

    Does anybody really believe that the explosion of LBGT identity among young people is due to genetics?

    1. Not genetics, but not “acquired homosexuality” either, if that’s what you’re implying.

        1. The very sudden shift in the number of young teenage girls identifying as boys is unexplained, but it has been suggested that girls of that age are particularly susceptible to social contagion. Of course, this explanation – and even the existence of rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) – is hotly contested. We’ll need to wait for some independent and peer-reviewed data and analysis. The lack of data and critical exploration of this phenomenon is very disappointing.

      1. Equating the phrase “acquired homosexuality” with a claim of “social contagion” is an obvious distortion of the idea and just a straw man. The precise point is that some significant portion of the young people claiming a homosexual identity may not really be gay. I cannot image having observed human behavior, especially young iGen human behavior, for very long and still thinking that this is in any way a controversial claim.

        1. I remember the time (get off my lawn!) when it seemed to be an established scientific fact that gender identity is innate, a fact of biology. “Biology will out” used to be the saying. You found out who you are in the process of growing up. Contrary to certain religious doctrines (I grew up Mormon), no one “chooses” to be gay, any more than a straight person chooses to be straight.

          But of course, current fashions in postmodern thinking aren’t informed by anything outside their intellectual bubble, and certainly not research that included white males.

          1. In the UK again, the lgbTQ charity Stonewall has been promoting the idea that babies and toddlers have a gender identity, and frequently one at odds with their biology. Loony examples are given, such as a baby ripping open the poppers on his romper suit is trying to turn it into a dress.
            Frankly, I regard sexualising anything in childhood as child abuse. Pre-school kids know there are boys and girls and that’s quite enough. Let the poor buggers enjoy their childhood while they can, and don’t screw it up with adult concerns and politics!

    1. That’s enough. Your goal here is to vindicate yourself by dissing Rufo. Sorry, but you have to go after his argument, not go after the person. I bet you’re furiously Googling to find out bad stuff about him.

    2. Sykes on Rufo approaches Trump on Mrs. Clinton. I read Sykes on his Bulwark substack newsletter, for which Cathy Young, who was a recent good addition to that newsletter also writes. Bulwark is one of the 3 or 4 most popular newsletter on substack. Young is fair and honest almost always.

      I have followed Rufo’s closely for several years. Many, many people hate him because again and again he proves his point. He gets is information from people inside organizations who leak information to him.

      To my knowledge there have been 2 big mainstream media profiles on him: one in the New Yorker and the other in the Washington Post. Once published each publication had to make major revisions/retractions.

      Paul, I know this topic interests you, so I will let you spend time googling about those revisions/retractions. They were rather amazing.

  7. I looked through the slides of the lesson plans. I have no objection to its goals and most of the slides, the purpose of which is to reduce bigotry against people with different sexual orientations and gender identities than the majority, but with two caveats. First, the pledge has to go as well as any reference to white colonization. Both are irrelevant to the purpose of the lesson and only gives ammunition to the right-wing. Second, these lessons should take up no more than one school day. As far as I can tell, these lessons are not indoctrination. They are aimed to teaching respect and acceptance for people that have suffered abuse and discrimination. If these slides are actually being used in Portland classrooms, the school district should remove the slides I mention above.

    Of course, these slides will be another weapon in the culture wars aimed at retaining right-wing support among people that feel, largely because of religious indoctrination, that transgender and gay people should have no rights. Before long, we’ll see the right-wing claiming that the school district is “grooming” young people to become gay or transgender. For the right-wing overtly attacking Black and Brown people has become more difficult (although they have not given up trying – they are persistent and relentless if nothing else). But for them, attacking gay and transgender people is low hanging political fruit.

    From the perspective of Democrats, they need to get on top of the latest right-wing barrage. Within the next few days, they need to repudiate the offensive slides, but simultaneously announce that the purpose of the lesson is to teach respect and acceptance for these groups. If executed properly, the Democratic response can turn into a plus for the party. But, I am not sure that they will do what it takes to promote the interests of gay and transgender people as well as the party’s political prospects.

    1. Strongly disagree. The purpose of those slides is to change the culture radically. I point to just one example: teaching children not to use the words “mom” and “dad” because the words are not gender neutral. Teaching kids that biological sex and gender are not the same the vast majority of the time. Suggesting that they can’t assume someone who shows every outward sign of being female is actually a woman. It’s dangerous brainwashing.

    2. I partially agree, but there are other aspects that are troubling as well. For example the claim that there is no biological sex.

      “Assigned Sex is a spectrum. There are many sexes and many variations within the different sexes. Sex is not binary because there are more than two sexes. Also, people made up what assigned sex means and it changes over time. Calling sex “biological” erases that it is a social construct, meaning that people made it up.”

      And for all the fanfare and use of the word Gender, it is never defined. I think this is intentional because naming gender as described in the presentation would destroy it a la Wittgenstein’s private language argument. If there are as many genders as there are stars in the sky, and “only you can know your gender,” then the concept of gender becomes meaningless.

    3. There is a vast amount wrong with those slides — starting with the dominant and lengthy emphasis on “gender”, which they don’t define, and which they treat as far more important than biological sex.

      E.g.: they define sex in terms of gender: “Assigned Sex is the labels like “male, “female,” and “intersex” that doctors and adults use to sort babies into gender categories.”

      But the best attempt to define “gender” is: “Gender Identity is who you are”. That’s it, there’s no actual definition of “gender”.

      The whole thing is a confused mess.

      1. Re “Gender Identity is who you are”: Not to mention the fact that “who you are” is (or can/should be) so much more than just your gender identity. Did it really not occur to anyone putting these materials together that this statement is ontologically problematic?

      2. Having thought a bit more about this, it occurs to me that they are often (though perhaps inconsistently) using the term “gender” as a synonym of or substitute for what has long been called “personality”, whereby the aspect of sexuality plays a (more) central role.
        This is likely the reason why terms such as “sapiosexual” or “metrosexual” are to them “genders”, though to those of us from a bygone era being attracted to someone who is intelligent or being a person who likes shopping and fashion were simply aspects of one’s personality.

  8. This reminds me of a Right v. Left disagreement in a neighboring state out here in flyover country. The forced-birthers’ want “minor restrictions we all already agree on” (in the same advert that shows a healthy full-term baby wincing and crying simultaneously while talking about “painful third trimester abortions”.) The baby-killing sex maniacs (/S) claim the amendment “would lead to further restrictions that do not allow any abortions under any circumstances”. While I personally side with the baby-killers, I get the impression both sides are hedging their bets on exaggerated imagery and rhetoric.

  9. Two things:

    1) Rufo is an evil monster who deserves nothing good in this world.

    2) As a resident of the state who reads the local papers I’d rate his “reporting” as more likely than not to be true. We don’t need this nonsense because Oregon Republicans specifically are batshit insane.

    1. >“more likely than not to be true”

      That sounds like a pretty favourable endorsement, more likely than not.

    2. “…Oregon Republicans specifically are batshit insane.”

      Yeah, but we don’t have an entire generation being indoctrinated in their insanity, nor is their insanity contaminating STEM.

  10. No matter where you are on the spectrum of gender or race relevance, all options are social engineering of the Stalinist kind. They must be nipped in the bud. Period. No institution should be allowed to dictate or even suggest how to conduct social relations between individuals. Schools are for education: for those things that parents cannot teach. They are not churches. They are not
    mental asylums. they are not microscope specimens. It is no exaggeration to say that all of this is
    nothing but a power struggle no less meretricious than Nazism or communism, both of which (along with many countries today) are authoritarian and intended to manipulate the human mind through
    intimidation, threats, smearing of reputations, and repeated public disapproval and moral condemnation. If people distrust extreme right wingers and republicans on these issues, then it is their responsibility to create a movement that has no a priori ideology or beliefs about race or gender.
    Time to shake free of all of these fanatics of right and left. Keep all of this out of the schools. Let parents teach their kids how to get along with others. Schools are books and teacher; keep them free of this shameless idiocy. NOT ONE DROP SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN SCHOOLS.

    1. The devil is in the details. In the extreme, any challenge to a kid’s racism or homophobia is “social engineering of the Stalinist kind.” There are plenty of kids with 2 moms or 2 dads. Public education has a responsibility to socialize children. That requires schools drawing a line about acceptable student behavior.

      Rufo is clearly a zealot activist who found a lucrative schtick with critical race theory. For me, that greatly diminishes his credibility critisizing sex education.

      4 – 11 seems young for most of this to me. In the curriculum linked in the comments, there was a lot of emphasis on self reporting inappropriate touching. I would hope that gets at least as much attention as committing to reading about LGBTQ leaders.

      1. “Lucrative”? You’re accusing him of doing this for money? He’s an activist yes, and he is doing this because he cares. And I would say he was pretty much right on CRT. What he’s criticising now is not “sex education”, it’s more radical than that, it is “queer theory”, which is the wholesale replacement of biological sex with undefined notions of “gender”.

      2. I am told by young parents that inappropriate touching now includes any physical contact between an adult and their child. They explicity complain about elderly women who pat children’s heads or pinch their cheeks, something that practically every elderly lady did to me as a child (I didn’t mind in the least as long as they didn’t beardily kiss me). But God forbid if an elderly lesbian doesn’t want to have sex a with penis-sporting transwoman. Standards have changed a lot.

    2. Agreed, Lorna. We should let kids be kids. They do not need to agonize over pronouns and the ‘genderbread’ man.

  11. If this is real and they’re actually teaching this – it seems like some multi-level bonkers to me.
    How can they not think the blow back isn’t going to be … heavy at least?
    Goodness I’m glad I never had children.
    D.A.
    NYC

  12. “Assigned Sex is a spectrum. There are many sexes and many variations within the different sexes. Sex is not binary because there are more than two sexes. Also, people made up what assigned sex means and it changes over time. Calling sex “biological” erases that it is a social construct, meaning that people made it up.”
    In a galaxy far away, there was a period of about 17 years during which higher education was required to teach that genes on chromosomes were a social construct (i.e., reactionary Menshevising idealism). I wonder if this balderdash was also forced upon elementary school children. Probably not, as the authorities in that galaxy were concerned with practical matters—and perhaps less narrowly focused on displays of virtue than many US educrats, in Portland and elsewhere.

  13. I’ve read here and there, from those who are all for this indoctrination, to-the-effect that K-5 students ought to be able to bear being made to feel “uncomfortable.” This is from the same crowd who demand the cessation of alleged “microagressions” and the provision of “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” at universities. Apparently they expect more of K-5 students than they do of university students (who are apparently less capable than kindergartners).

  14. Kids need to be loved, guided and taught, as Dawkins put it, the “magic of reality”. Challenged, encouraged, inspired to become citizens of the world. People who think kids should be made uncomfortable so they can conform to some social experiment need to be kept far, far away from kids. And those who honestly believe in their schtick, who will not be deterred from their task, willing to socially condition the kids to death if that’s what it takes, need to be kept farthest away.

    I keep reminding myself of the teacher who posted the slides that she is a decent person who just believes the things she has been taught, and thinks she is ultimately helping her kids. So do parents think when they try to “love” their kids out of being gay, or punish them (for their good of course) until they come to Jesus. It brings to mind – from my religious upbringing- the bible passage about family members becoming a person’s worst enemies.

    Note- I meant this as a reply to #17.

  15. LGBTQIA2S+ ?
    LGBTQIA+ ?

    I can’t even unpack it, and what is the difference?

    Western societies have used language to erase alternative sexualities? I got the impression that the LGBTQIA2S+(etc) obsession is an obsession purely fostered in white priviliged Western societies, by the most priviliged part of the population.

  16. Hi All,

    Reality and empirical evidence should always be the first priority. It shouldn’t matter if Chris Rufo is ‘right wing’ or not, if what he’s presenting is backed up by supporting evidence then that’s what should shape how we think about the issue (not whether or not he’s on the ‘correct ideological team’ or not).

    I’m come to think of people who have a dogmatic adherence to critical theory (ie: gender theory for example) as being the ‘religious left’ as they have a ‘creationist’ view of human beings which is separate and opposed to biology and our evolution. What makes the religious left much more concerning today than the religious right is that the critical theory approach to race and gender has much more cultural clout than regular religious beliefs therefore gender ideology often gets a pass even though it’s clearly not based on objective reality/ empirical evidence (to be clear, we should strive to have an objective evidence based view of the world and not to prioritise an ideological dogma whether being right wing, such as Intelligent Design creationism, or left wing such as critical theory creationism).

  17. I know this will sound too snarky, but is there, in fact, a substantial “history and leadership of Black trans women”?

    There may well be, but this seems to be slicing “affinity” groups just a little too thin, for me. It looks like a rote exercise in “intersectionality,” in which “points” are awarded according to one’s purported “victim” status.

    In short, it’s trying much too hard.

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