By Jonathon Van Maren
The fight over Ontario’s sex education curriculum is going to end up boiling down to a single issue, where neither side can budge: Gender fluidity. On one side, you have LGBT activists who are demanding that children be taught that they can switch from boy to girl or vice versa, and that sex and gender are two separate things. They want children to believe that their biology can be irrelevant to who they are. And on the other side, there are those of us who believe that this is profoundly harmful and confusing for children, and that this social experiment concerning gender fluidity is going to end very badly indeed (and in fact, many parents point out that it is already causing immense harm.)
It was a given that the backlash to Doug Ford’s repeal of Kathleen Wynne’s sex education was going to be intense. Simply put, in order to spread their ideology—especially the tenets of transgenderism, which most people instinctively find dubious—LGBT activists need to have their ideology taught in the public schools, and they will fight for access. Just as the Ford government announced new consultations, it turns out that some are already taking action against the curriculum repeal. From the Toronto Star:
At least six Ontario families are launching a human rights case over the province’s plan to use an outdated sex-ed curriculum, saying it will harm their children — the first legal challenge amid a growing backlash over reviving the two-decade-old lessons and the impact on LGBTQ youth.
While the main applicant is an 11-year-old trans youth from rural Ontario, a number of families from Guelph, Toronto, Sudbury and other cities will support the case with evidence of how the new curriculum — which the Ford government said it will suspend this fall — helped support their elementary school children. All of the kids involved in the case are younger than 13.
“We’ve been in conversation with parents of trans and queer youth, currently in Grades K to 8 … and these families are very concerned about the planned changes,” said lawyer Marcus McCann, who along with colleague Mika Imai will be announcing the human rights challenge Thursday at Queen’s Park. “Our belief is that shelving the curriculum is raising red flags from a human rights perspective.”
Imai said they will request an expedited hearing, and may seek an interim order to keep the updated curriculum in place this fall. While the families were going to hold off until the government officially ordered boards to revert to the 1998 curriculum, with school just weeks away “we just can’t wait,” added McCann. “The stakes are too high.”
You’ll notice that there is no middle ground here. Those of us who oppose this curriculum would agree that the stakes in this fight are very high, which is why organizations like Parents as First Educators and the army of parents it has been fielding for several years now have fought so long and hard to have these dangerous ideologies taken out of the schools. But for others, having young children taught about transgenderism is quite literally a “human right”—I’m sure the reasoning will be both tortured as well as solemnly accepted by the media and progressive politicians—and they’ll go to court to make sure that all children get taught what they want their kids to know. More:
Jake Somerville’s child began transitioning in kindergarten and “we found that the school, the teachers, played a really big role,” said the Guelph father, helping her socially and “working with children in the classroom who had a lot of questions about what she was going through.”
The teachers brought in books and would talk about boys wearing dresses or wanting to, and rather than separating boys from the girls for classroom groupings, teachers would find other ways — not related to gender — to do so.
“That was in 2015,” Somerville said. “The (new) curriculum had already started. We found the teachers … were so knowledgeable about what needed to be done … we didn’t have very much exposure to the trans community, so it was refreshing to go into the school system” and be supported. By using the old curriculum, “it leaves it open for every single school to have a different climate, all across the board,” said Somerville.
For families outside of Toronto, the worry is greater because they are fewer supports available outside of school, said Sudbury mom Sylvie Liard, who has one young child she describes as gender non-conforming. “Going back to the older curriculum, where nothing was addressed, is unfathomable,” she said.
Somerville’s story is precisely what worries so many parents. A child physically transitioning in kindergarten? Five-year-olds being taught that their bodies might not correlate to their gender? Teachers encouraging boys to wear dresses? The simple fact is that most Ontario parents do not want their children learning that stuff, and many were even under the mistaken impression that school was about education. Even those who couldn’t care less what trans activists are up to do not think that their kindergarteners need to know the finer details of queer theory in between nap-time and the monkey-bars.
Those suing the government for a violation of “human rights” are now launching an online fundraising campaign to cover their legal costs. In response, the grassroots organization Parents as First Educators is asking Ontarians to sign a petition expressing their support for the Ford government’s repeal and is pushing to ensure that the Progressive Conservatives don’t buckle under pressure and insert these ideologies into the new curriculum, as well. Many thought the battle was almost won when Doug Ford kept his promise to get rid of Wynne’s sex-ed and begin consultations with parents. It turns out that it is just beginning.