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LETTER: Education system suppressing knowledge of trans history and culture

The current uproar over the inclusion of transgender-affirming educational materials in the K-12 curriculum is a ridiculous debate.

As the parent of a 16-year-old transgender girl and a 15-year-old nonbinary child, I can assure you that the schools are already completely untenable places for gender-diverse children. Even in the most progressive of states and provinces, even with school support like SOGI, teachers resist and avoid including trans history and literature in their coursework and lessons. North American society continues to erase trans history and trans people from cultural knowledge and spaces, as Western culture has done for the last 2,000 years.

Given this situation, I find it absurd that people are debating whether the faint and barely recognizable attempts to include materials that will safekeep trans children is “appropriate.” Both of my children had to find alternative educational spaces. The public schools are simply not spaces where trans kids can survive, period. The whole debate is about nothing, because nothing significant has happened anyway.

Teachers still resist discussing trans people, erase their histories, and suppress the knowledge of trans history and culture. Trans kids are still made to feel that they should not exist, are bad, wrong, and monstrous, and sexualized. Cis kids are made to think that they, and only they, should be in the spaces, and like privileged kids everywhere, enforce those boundaries by making school spaces impossible for trans kids.

States and provinces still practise the opt-out option, attaching stigma to trans identities by warning parents before teaching any trans content. When you are ready to have a real discussion about creating inclusive curriculum that honours our multiply-gendered world, then let me know. I have been working to revive those histories and make them available, not only to help trans kids survive, but to return them to their honoured place in the pantheon of humanity (Earth Tide on Patreon).

Kai McKenzie

Saanich