FAIR membership is comprised of people who hold a variety of ideological views, yet prioritize a common concern for fairness, understanding and humanity. The subject of this article reflects FAIR’s concerns with the inherent right and duty of parents to support a child’s well being.
While FAIR members hold a range of perspectives on gender and sexuality instruction, we maintain as an organization that parents have a fundamental right to direct their child’s education.
With the above ideas in mind, we make the following suggestions:
- Parents who are concerned for any reason about gender lessons can explicitly instruct their child’s school not to ask the child for their gender. Parents already provide biodata information annually which includes relevant medical and psychological information. Children can and will have unsolicited conversations with teachers on a variety of topics. Teachers should not be “fishing” for such information. Families who support the use of identity markers will encourage the practice at home.
- Parents who wish to protect the integrity of their child’s biological sex can explicitly instruct their child’s school not to teach their particular child that biological sex is changeable and make it clear that the child should not be taught this by a teacher or by a guest to the school. Parents can also require that the child is given sex-based rights including single sex change rooms and bathroom facilities.
- Parents can insist that school board policy not be exercised in conflict with existing laws governing privacy rights, regulated medical care or the controlled act of psychotherapy. Gender dysphoria is a psychiatric condition according to the DSM V. Social transition of a person with gender dysphoria has been found to be an active intervention. The majority of school board staff are not qualified to practice psychotherapy. Those that are should be focussed on educational outcomes. A balanced article on best practices for the care of children with gender dysphoria can be found here: https://genderreport.ca/reform-of-transgender-treatments-canada/
- FAIR members support enacting child protection laws as appropriate, including in cases where the child is in need of protection from a parent threatening a child on the basis of gender variance. School board policies should presume that a parent will act in their child’s best interests. Keeping in mind that it is the common trait of adolescents to perceive parental animosity where there is none, school employees should keep parents informed of all aspects of their child’s well being. School employees should involve child protection authorities when there is concern a child is at risk.
We note that the science is far from settled on the need for medical intervention when children are experiencing gender dysphoria. It is not automatically trans phobic for parents to want to be involved in cautious decision making for their children about life altering decisions.
We encourage all parents to inform themselves of their local school board’s policies on gender and sexuality instruction and to maintain open communication with their children about what is being discussed at school.