The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging public school staff and administrators to use its recently republished blueprint that instructs the government education sector to adopt and promote gender ideology in school programs and environments.
“Our LGBTQ inclusivity self-assessment tool can help you quickly gauge inclusivity at your school,” the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) tweeted to school administrators on December 27.
DASH included in the tweet a link to its document, originally published in October 2020, titled “LGBTQ Inclusivity in Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool.”
While CDC’s DASH states its tool is “optional,” it boasts the document “includes many resources from non-governmental organizations focused on improving school inclusivity,” and then adds “the ideas and opinions expressed within them do not represent the official opinion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
Nevertheless, the document is touted as “a focused, reasonable, and user-friendly approach to identify strategies to increase LGBTQ inclusivity in schools.”
The four assessments included in the tool are targeted to all users, school administrators, teachers, and school health services staff. Responses to the questions ultimately yield three scores: “Commit to Change,” which denotes a “Minimally Inclusive” score; “Beginning to Break Through,” a “Moderately Inclusive” outcome; and “Awesome Ally,” which is considered “Highly Inclusive.”
Examples of assessment questions for “all users” that require response ratings from the participant are the following:
—I cannot assume a student’s gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
—I use neutral terms (e.g., “partner” instead of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”) to describe students’ romantic relationships instead of making assumptions.
—I use students’ chosen name(s) in all school environments, including abbreviations and pronouns [e.g., Jim vs. James; Natalie (she, her) vs Nathan (he, him)].
—I advocate for LGBTQ inclusive and affirming materials in all school and classroom environments.
—I participate in my schools’ Gay Straight Alliance/Genders and Sexualities Alliance (GSA).
Administrators are asked to respond to assessment statements such as:
—The policy(s) in place allows students to use the bathroom/locker room which aligns to their chosen gender.
—The policy(s) in place accommodates students who want their paperwork to present their chosen name and pronouns, rather than their legal name.
—Physical education and athletics programs have written policies that allow co-educational team (i.e., mixed genders) offerings and participation.
—The technology policies allow student access to age-appropriate LGBTQ content and information (e.g., LGBTQ-specific media, public health and education organizations, and entertainment sites).
—Our district allows teachers to develop LGBTQ inclusive curricula or adapt curricula and materials to be more LGBTQ inclusive.
Assessment questions for teachers and school health staff particularly stress schools should not be using terms such as “male” and “female” to describe individuals or sexual practices. These include:
—My classroom or learning space includes visual labels (e.g., rainbow flags, pink triangles, unisex bathroom signs) marking it as a safe space for LGBTQ students.
—During sexual health education lessons, I present information on the range of gender identities and sexual orientations which make up the diversity of friend and romantic relationships.
—During sexual health education lessons, I present information on all types of sex, not centering on penis/vagina penetrative sex.
—During sexual health education lessons, I describe anatomy and physiology separate from gender (e.g., “a body with a penis,” “a body with a vagina”).
—Our school nurse’s office/health clinic uses students’ chosen name and pronoun(s) in the school nurses’ office/health clinic and waiting areas.
—When/if I deliver sexual health information and services, I present information on all types of sex, not centering on penis/vagina penetrative sex.
—When/if I deliver sexual health information and services, I describe anatomy and physiology separate from gender (e.g., “a body with a penis,” “a body with a vagina”).
The CDC LGBTQ assessment tool contains no information regarding parents of students, such as informing parents of the goals of inclusivity training, how it will be conducted, and whether parents will be asked to give consent for their children to be exposed to the practices.
The tool appears on the CDC website under its section “For Schools” and then under a dropdown menu “Tools for Supporting LGBTQ Youth.”
In addition to DASH’s tool, the nation’s top health agency also recommends the document “Schools in Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools” produced by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), LGBTQ activist organizations Gender Spectrum, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers’ union.
CDC recommends as well LGBTQ education activist group GLSEN’s “Safe Spaces Kit” and its other guides on LGBTQ-inclusive sports in schools.