Parents are being urged to protect their children from sexualization and gender confusion by way of graphic sex education curricula in public schools.
Scholars and activists say parents must find out what their children are being taught and equip themselves to combat such programs.
In a virtual summit hosted by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., panelists explained how children are being exposed to and indoctrinated by illicit materials used in sex education. Some say such curricula is tantamount to grooming, and that efforts to sexualize children are actively in motion at state and federal levels, and pushed by the World Health Organization and U.N.
Michael Farris, CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, noted during the panel discussion that the Western tradition of law has always recognized the centrality of the family to civilization and has granted broad authority to parents, stressing that a child is not a creature of the state. But today, parental authority is being severely undermined by government entities through sex-ed because ideologues who want to sexualize children and create a sexual utopia of their own imagination have understood the immense power of public education.
Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said that on a weekly basis, he receives phone calls from parents who are scandalized by the content their kids have been exposed to at school.
"Parents have a right to opt their children out of sexual health education," Beckwith said, noting that in Massachusetts, elements of the curricula they oppose have been inserted into other subject areas that parents cannot opt their children out of.
A bill being considered in Massachusetts that would take even more authority away from parents is the so-called "Healthy Youth Act." It has been promoted by Planned Parenthood and NARAL and passed the state Senate in January. Abortion advocacy groups have touted the legislation for expanding "reproductive freedoms" and for requiring that curriculum "affirm that people have different sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions."
"On the surface, that sounds great," Beckwith said. "But when you actually read through the bill and parse through the language and see what it does, you realize that those terms are not defined in any meaningful sense. It cedes authority from the local school districts and gives it to the state department of education."
"Instead of parents, teachers and health professionals in a community deciding what's best together for the children in that community, you have a one-size-fits-all platform coming down from the state bureaucrats," he explained.
Massachusetts, he added, had already decided to use a Planned Parenthood curriculum that it claimed was "medically accurate" and "age-appropriate" called "Get Real."
Beckwith and his staff read through the Planned Parenthood sex-ed lessons for middle school students line by line. "We found things there that I can't even really fully describe," he said.
In the seventh-grade lessons for 12-year-olds, there were instructions on how to use non-microwavable plastic wrap as an oral prophylactic for "non-reproductive [sexual] acts."
"There are things that Planned Parenthood wants to teach our 12-year-olds that I hadn't even heard of before I started going through their curriculum," he said, explaining that was previously a prosecutor in the Marines and had handled several sexual assault cases and hadn't come across the things Planned Parenthood was teaching.
At the federal level, what will likely be impacting public school systems across the United States is the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County, which redefined sex discrimination in employment law to include sexual orientation and "transgender status," explained author and Heritage Foundation resident scholar Ryan Anderson.
Despite great deference to states and localities within federal law, national agencies still have considerable sway over education policy under the guise of civil rights law and nondiscrimination policies, Anderson explained. And the Bostock ruling could be utilized to extend to other areas, such as education.
Should the presidential administration change, the high court's decision could soon be used in justifying executive orders forcing schools to implement policies and regulations requiring gender-neutral facilities such as bathrooms, showers and locker rooms, as was done in 2016 in the waning months of President Obama's second term.
Yet students do not just learn from what is taught in the classroom, but by the social atmosphere of the school as a whole, he explained.
"If the school simply treats gender as if it's fluid, as if it exists along a spectrum, if the school has locker room policies, and bathroom policies, and sports policies that embody the belief that gender exists on a spectrum and is fluid, students are going to pick that up," Anderson stressed. "So even if there is never any explicit curriculum that teaches this ... simply the school environment itself, the ecosystem of the school, is going to shape, form, and mold the beliefs of those students."
'This is something that parents need to watch out for at all levels," he added. "Elections have consequences. And what happens in Congress, and what happens in the White House could impact what happens in your local school."
While major changes are not expected with the current White House, should the presidential administration or the composition of Congress substantively change, the Equality Act — which passed the House of Representatives last year but was not taken up for consideration by the Senate — could become law. If that occurs, sexual orientation and gender identity would be extended to public accommodations, government funding, and public education in Titles II, IV, VI, and IX of the Civil Rights Act.
"So while not directly mandating a particular curriculum, it could say that your current curriculum violates civil rights because it has a bias against LGBT-identified people," Anderson explained.
Sharon Slater, head of Family Watch International, explained the myriad ways in which international governing bodies such as U.N. agencies and the World Health Organization are inculcating sexual radicalism into children. These global entities, she said, have in various ways, and especially through global Comprehensive Sexuality Education programs, furthered the notion that sexual pleasure and activity is a "right" that belongs to children.
In the WHO's sex-ed manual for European children, children ages 0 to 4 are taught how to touch their body parts for sexual pleasure. And at age 9, WHO directs children to the International Planned Parenthood Federation to learn about their "sexual rights," Slater explained.
"What they're going to learn from IPPF is that children have a right to have sexual activity at any age, that they have a right to sexual pleasure," she emphasized.
One publication that was published by IPPF and distributed at the U.N. was called "Healthy, Happy, and Hot." It tells youth who are infected with HIV that they do not have to tell their sexual partners that they are infected with the virus.
Materials from UNICEF, ostensibly a U.N. organization looking out for children, assert that children have the right to access sexual and reproductive health services without parental consent, Slater said. The UNFPA, the population fund of the U.N., has created a phone app for children to use that teaches them how to give consent to sexual acts.
The Heritage Foundation's summit concluded Wednesday and is part of an ongoing effort to combat the sexualization of children in society.