Midwestern teachers discussed during an online conference how to help students identify as the opposite sex without their parents' knowledge amid an increasing number of state laws seeking to protect minors from the potentially irreversible harms of gender transition.
The Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center (MAP), funded by the U.S. Department of Education under Title IV, hosted the conference last week. MAP serves 7,025 school districts across 13 states, including Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The Daily Mail reported on the online session Monday after gaining access to the conference. According to the outlet, around 30 teachers from multiple Midwestern states, including Illinois, Michigan and Iowa attended.
The conference comes as Republican-led states have enacted laws in recent years that restrict trans-identifying youth from using the restroom that aligns with their gender identity or participating as the opposite sex on sports teams.
Other states, including Florida and Arkansas, have enacted laws prohibiting discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation at certain grade levels and requiring schools to tell parents about changes in their child's well-being.
At the start of the four-hour workshop, Angel Nathan, the MAP specialist who hosted the session, stated that attendees would analyze these new laws to "remedy the marginalizing effects and disrupt problematic policies."
Kimberly Martin, the diversity, equality and inclusion coordinator for Royal Oak Schools in Michigan, revealed during the meeting that she is working to conceal a child's gender identity from the kid's parents.
"We're working with our record-keeping system so that certain screens can't be seen by the parents … if there's a nickname in there we're trying to hide," Martin said.
Another attendee, Jennifer Haglund, a counselor for Ames Community Schools in Iowa, complained about Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signing a bill in March 2022 that mandated students must be a biological female if they are to compete in girls' sports.
Haglund also talked about her participation in protest marches and boasted about partaking in her "own activism," adding, "I know that I have my own right code of ethics, and that doesn't always go along with the law."
Shea Martin, a graduate teaching associate at Ohio State University, discussed working against "laws that prohibit or restrict trans advocacy." According to Martin's LinkedIn page, the doctoral student "studies the liberatory potential of embedding queer/trans pedagogies and narratives in literacy learning spaces."
"The stakes are very high for trans youth," Martin said. "I think that requires working subversively and quietly sometimes to make sure that trans kids have what they need."
Martin did not specify how teachers can act subversively, according to the Daily Mail, but she did warn teachers against treating "reinforced heterosexuality as the norm" when discussing topics such as love and marriage.
The Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.
Gays Against Groomers, a group that identifies itself as an "organization of gays against the sexualization, indoctrination and medicalization of children under the guise of 'LGBTQIA+,'" called for accountability.
"These people believe they own your children," the group tweeted on Monday. "They are coming for ALL of them, and it is up to us to stop them."
The online session follows ongoing tension between parents and various school districts throughout the country, with some parents alleging that their children's school helped the kid to secretly identify as the opposite sex.
According to a study released by the Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies in February, at least 3 million K-12 students are enrolled in public school districts where they can change their name and preferred pronouns to reflect their chosen gender identity without parental consent.