Are Gender and Sexuality Lessons in Public Schools Indoctrination?

  • Tiffany Justice, Moms For Liberty Co-Founder
  • The Heritage Foundation
  • Keri Ingraham, Education Researcher
  • Plus 1 more pro
  • Miguel Cardona, US Secretary of Education
  • Welcoming Schools
  • American Psychological Association
  • Plus 2 more con


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  • The Heritage Foundation
  • Parents Defending Education
  • Keri Ingraham, Education Researcher
Click highlights for notes.

Teaching children about gender identity and sexual orientation is indoctrination. They’re learning to accept transgenderism and homosexuality and to vilify people who don’t. These are radical left-wing ideas.

  • The Editor

Acceptance of people who are gay or lesbian is far from radical or left-wing. An overwhelming majority of Americans think homosexuality should be accepted. Most also support transgender rights.

  • The Heritage Foundation
  • The Editor

The vast majority of Republicans oppose lessons about gender identity in public elementary schools. Like most Americans, Republicans believe biological sex, not personal preference, determines gender. Tens of millions of religious Americans hold traditional views about marriage, and they’re basically the villain in a children’s book that’s recommended reading for “inclusive” K-5 classrooms!

  • Miguel Cardona, US Secretary of Education
  • Welcoming Schools
  • The Editor

Denying others’ rights is antagonistic, if not downright villainous, and same-sex partners have a right to marry. Trans children have a right to be included–recognized and respected as transgender. Being inclusive requires understanding gender identity, and less than half of Americans support banning lessons about the topic.

  • Tiffany Justice, Moms For Liberty Co-Founder
  • The Editor

What about religious rights? Parents’ rights? Children from conservative families of faith should feel welcome, and their parents’ constitutionally protected values should be respected. At the very least, parents should be able to opt-out of lessons on gender and sexuality, just as they’re typically able to opt-out of other sex education.

  • Welcoming Schools
  • American Psychological Association
  • Jill Hermann-Wilmarth, Education Professor
  • Caitlin Ryan, Education Professor

All children and families should feel welcome. No child or family should be made to feel invisible or invalid. To be seen and accepted in the classroom, LGBTQ+ people must be seen and accepted in the curriculum. That doesn’t mean teaching young children about sexual activity or anything else that’s not age-appropriate. It means broadening their understanding of two concepts they already use at home and school—gender and love.


  1. [A]ctivist groups have strengthened pressures on legislators and educators to require the teaching of radical Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) ideology in schools.

    The Heritage Foundation Sexual Ideology Indoctrination: The Equality Act’s Impact on School Curriculum and Parental Rights

    Extreme ideologies are quickly taking root in U.S. K-12 public schools through new school policies, practices, and curriculums—with devastating effects on students … One radical development is in the area of sex/gender.

    Keri Ingraham, Education Researcher The Radical Reshaping of K-12 Public Education (Part 1): Gender Redefinition & Self-Selection

    [C]ritical gender theory activists have turned America’s education system into a tool to reach millions of children in an effort to teach and promote gender ideology. [internal links omitted]

    Parents Defending Education Gender Ideology 101
  2. Based on a Gallup poll from 2021. Here are some of the key findings:

    Story Highlights

    • Support for gay marriage at 70% for first time
    • A majority of Republicans now support same-sex marriage
    • Support among older adults has reached the 60% mark
    Justin McCarthy, Journalist Record-High 70% in U.S. Support Same-Sex Marriage
  3. Specifically, most support laws and policies that protect transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public spaces, according to a 2022 survey by Pew:  Americans’ Complex Views on Gender Identity and Transgender Issues.

  4. 69% of Republicans and Republican leaners strongly favor or favor making it illegal for public schools to teach about gender identity in elementary schools. Source: 2022 Pew survey.

  5. 86% of Republicans and Republican leaners say gender is determined by sex assigned at birth. 60% of Americans hold that view. Source: 2022 Pew survey.

  6. Take just White Evangelical Protestants, a majority (63%) of which oppose same-sex marriage, according to the 2020 American Values Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). The 2020 Census of American Religion, also by PRRI, found that 14% of Americans identify as White Evangelical Protestants. The U.S. population in 2020 was about 331.5 million. So there’s probably 29 million or more religious Americans who oppose same-sex marriage, presumably because they hold traditional views about marriage.

  7. The book is A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. It is the basis for a K-5 lesson on embracing family diversity, one of several Lesson Plans to Create LGBTQ+ Inclusive Classrooms and Schools offered by Welcoming Schools, a bias-based bullying prevention program run by the Human Rights Campaign. The book and lesson are alluded to here:

    Lessons on family diversity, rather than focusing on tolerance and respect for all students and families, paint as bigoted the belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that children need a mother and father.

    The Heritage Foundation. Sexual Ideology Indoctrination: The Equality Act’s
    Impact on School Curriculum and Parental Rights
  8. The right of same-sex couples to marry…is part of the liberty promised by the Fourteenth Amendment…

    Justice Anthony Kennedy. Obergefell v. Hodges
  9. Every student should be able to have the full experience of attending school in America, including participating in athletics, free from discrimination.

    Secretary Miguel Cardona. FACT SHEET: U.S. Department of Education’s Proposed Change to its Title IX Regulations on Students’ Eligibility for Athletic Teams

    Three major forms of personal inclusion for trans students are:

    1. Use of preferred names and pronouns
    2. Access to bathrooms and locker rooms that match gender identity
    3. Participation in sports teams that match gender identity

    Under rules proposed by the Biden administration, public K-12 and federally funded schools must ensure 1 and 2 and must not ban transgender students in general from 3. The administration bases these rules on Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. (Title VII protects trans people from employment discrimination.) Although such rules carry the force of law, they lack the durability. The next administration can change them. For more about trans student rights, see: Transgender Student Rights: The Basics.

  10. It is critical that those supporting a transgender or gender-expansive child understand the complexity of gender.

    Welcoming Schools Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools

    The basic concepts presented in the Welcoming Schools guide are the basic subject matter of lessons on gender identity. The guide is endorsed by the National Education Association, the largest teacher’s union in the US.

  11. 41% strongly favor or favor making it illegal for public schools to teach about gender identity in elementary schools. Source: 2022 Pew survey.

  12. Here’s the view of a parent in Maryland who wants to opt-out of gender identity lessons:

    We are just asking for what is fair and equitable and our own constitutional right to be able to have religious freedom and opt-out of something that goes against not only my Christian beliefs, but also the Jewish religion, the Muslims.

    Allie Altobelli. Quoted in ‘It’s Not Appropriate’: Parents Call Out School Board For Refusing To Let Students Opt-Out Of Gender Identity Lessons.

    Do gender and sexuality lessons violate religious rights? It’s a question for the courts that (as of this writing) hasn’t been litigated. But a related question has: Does requiring teachers to use the preferred names and pronouns of transgender students violate religious rights?

    A 2023 decision didn’t go the teacher’s way: School’s transgender policy trumped teacher’s religious rights, US court rules. Here’s one from 2022 that did: Sixth Circuit Affirms First Amendment Protections for University Professor Refusing to Use Transgender Pronouns. For general discussion, see: The Role of Religious Objections to Transgender and Nonbinary Inclusion and Equality and/or Gender Identity Protection.

  13. Parents have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children. This includes their education … Parental rights do not stop at the classroom door.

    Tiffany Justice, Moms For Liberty Co-Founder Quoted in House GOP passes Parents Bill of Rights Act.

    Here’s a quick overview of the parents’ rights movement in education: EXPLAINER: The history behind ‘parents’ rights’ in schools. And here’s some analysis of a 2022 US District Court decision affirming some parental rights: Court Holds Parents Have Right to Opt Out of Gender Identity Teaching to First-Grade Children.

  14. Most states—34 plus DC—allow parents to opt-out of sex education, according to this policy brief. But lessons on gender and sexuality aren’t restricted to sex ed. For example, California parents can opt-out of sex ed but not instruction or materials outside [sex ed], including those that may reference gender, gender identity, [or] sexual orientation. Critics don’t accept this distinction. For example, see: School group creates their own opt-out form against rogue sex-ed.

  15. All students need educators to validate and respect their families … [W]hen educators discuss family diversity, they are not talking about sexuality—they are talking about understanding the importance of family, love and acceptance for everyone … Family respect includes respect for religious beliefs.

    Welcoming Schools. Be Prepared for LGBTQ+ Questions & Concerns
  16. Here’s some discussion from the American Psychological Association (APA): LGBTQ+ Inclusive Curricula. The APA cites research that suggests schools with inclusive curricula are safer learning environments for all youth and have better educational outcomes.

    School environments with inclusive curricula are safer learning environments for all youth and have better educational outcomes.

    American Psychological Association LGBTQ+ Inclusive Curricula
  17. [P]eople assume talking about people who identify as LGBTQ means talking about sex. That is not what we believe … [W]e advocate for elementary school teachers to…talk about the diversity of families and relationships and communities in ways that include LGBTQ people.

    Jill Hermann-Wilmarth, Education ProfessorCaitlin Ryan, Education Professor Reading and Teaching the Rainbow
  18. Gender identity, one’s sense of one’s own gender, emerges by about age three. Gender socialization, the process of learning gender roles, starts at birth. Here’s a quick overview of gender socialization at school: The Role of Schools in the Early Socialization of Gender Differences.

  19. Consider lessons on family diversity, such as this K-5 activity: Love Makes a Family. Assume that the average 5-year-old can understand love in terms of caring, affection, and companionship. Then a typical kindergartener can grasp that my parents love me and that my parents love each other while knowing nothing about sexual activity. In lessons on family diversity, the love same-sex parents feel for each other and their children is no different than the love opposite-sex parents feel.