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On August 22nd, the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District (GCISD) voted on a lengthy set of guidelines that included prohibitions against so-called “Critical Race Theory” in schools as well as chosen pronouns and promotion of “Gender Fluidity.” It’s been dubbed the “Don’t Say Trans” policy by some opponents.
The board defines “Gender Fluidity” as”
“any theory of ideology that (1) espouses the view that biological sex is merely a social construct; (2) espouses the view that this it is possible for a person to be any gender or none (i.e., non-binary) based solely on that person’s feelings or preferences; or (3) espouses the view that an individual’s biological sex can be changed to “match” a self-believed gender that is different from the person’s biological sex.”
This section effectively forbids district employees from acknowledging the existence of trans people, including themselves and their students. It also will not “promote, require, or encourage” the use of pronouns that don’t match the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, which would mean that trans or nonbinary teachers would be forced to misgender themselves.
The guidelines also included new restrictions on library books that don’t match “prevailing standards in the adult community.” It looks likely that any book with trans characters could be removed as “promoting gender fluidity” or not matching “prevailing standards” in the community.
These changes have been led by a conservative group called Patriot Mobile Action that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars getting their chosen representatives on school boards in Texas.
During the meeting, an attendee was escorted out by police for clapping after a public comment, which the president of the board said broke decorum.
More than a hundred people spoke at the meeting, including several students who begged the board to reconsider. Several people discussed LGBTQ+ and especially trans youth’s escalated risk of suicide, and how policies like this put them in danger. A United Methodist pastor spoke and said this policy reflects a “fascist agenda” that does not represent Christian values.
Despite the majority of comments being made against the harm of this policy, the board passed it.
This district’s new policy is a disturbing continuation of Texas’s recent educational gag orders, including House Bill 3979, which forbids teaching “Critical Race Theory” in schools. Texas is currently facing a “catastrophic” teacher shortage.
Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.