Transgenderism will likely be as familiar to some Maine kindergartners as triangles, under a new curriculum designed by Pro-LGBT group OUT Maine.
But while they are concerned, many parents fear opposing it publicly.
OUT Maine designed the program for state use by the Maine Department of Education (DOE).
“These lessons are designed for any classroom teacher and all lessons are compatible with the Maine Learning Results and/or Early Learning Development Standards which can be found at the end of each lesson,” a description of the lessons reads.
The Maine DOE doesn’t choose what gets taught in classrooms, said its director of communications, Marcus Mrowka.
“Curriculum decisions and what gets taught in classrooms is a local decision in Maine made by school boards, teachers, parents, and communities,” he added.
The Maine DOE links to OUT Maine’s website.
“The Maine Department of Education supports all LGBT identifying, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender expansive and questioning students, families, and school staff,” another place on the Maine DOE’s website reads.
Changing Gender in Kindergarten
Maine’s new statewide school curriculum promotes transgender teddy bears to kindergartners.
“In my heart, I’ve always known that I’m a girl Teddy, not a boy Teddy. I wish my name was Tilly,” reads a book recommended by the curriculum, which was provided to The Epoch Times by a Maine resident.
Thomas isn’t the only lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender character that the state’s kindergartners will likely meet.
There’s also Red, a blue crayon with a red label; Roy and Silo, a pair of homosexual penguins; and Jazz Jennings, a real-life transgender YouTuber.
In addition to everyday words, kindergartners will learn the explosion of preferred pronouns required to address these individuals on their own terms. In Maine, “they,” “ze,” “tree,” and more are all singular pronouns.
Teachers should “Make sure to remind students that it is up to each person to decide what pronouns feel right for them. It is not OK for people to give someone else a pronoun,” the lesson plan for “They, She, He: Easy as ABC” reads.
These lessons haven’t gone unnoticed.
Outraged parents have fought back against the new curriculum, but most hide their names because they fear losing their jobs, parents and activists say.
According to Larry Lockman, the cofounder and president of conservative political group the Maine First project, parent opposition to transgenderism has increased.
“I've been hearing that kind of chatter for several years now,” he said. “But the chatter has reached new volume levels in the last six months or so.”
The turning point was when the public saw videos of a teacher telling kindergartners that sometimes the doctor makes a mistake when telling parents whether a baby is a boy or a girl, Lockman said.
“It is unspeakably evil to plant those seeds in the mind of a 5-year-old; ‘Maybe you're not really a boy, maybe you're not really a girl,’” he said.
The more parents and conservative activists looked, the more they found, Lockman said. School libraries had books with graphic illustrations of children engaged in sex acts. School curriculums encourage and celebrate transgenderism.
These practices often weren’t public, said Lockman. To learn the books their children could read, parents had to file Freedom of Information Act requests and “jump through hoops,” he said.
“These are public institutions. And yet they make you dig, and scratch, and claw, in order to get this information,” he said.
When Lockman’s group publicizes these obscene materials, parents sometimes don’t believe him at first, he said.
Mother and teacher Mary is a Democrat. But she said she was shocked to see what Maine’s education system encouraged. She chose to remain anonymous because she feared losing her job.
“It just made me think there’s no consideration of what family values might be,” she said.
Mary said she works at one of Maine’s largest school districts. Her school consistently hosts events that encourage children to take part in promoting LGBT pride.
She said that she suspects school administrators promote these things because they feel like it’s the right thing to do.
Parents often don’t fight the promotion of LGBT gender ideology because they don’t understand the web of terminology that hides it.
“Most people have no idea,” she said. “They're like, ‘Why would you not want social-emotional learning?’”
Although terminology hides some of the school’s curriculum from parents, it’s not that subtle, she added. Her child’s teachers made preferred gender pronouns an integral part of classroom life.
“Every single teacher for every class asked every kid what their pronouns were,” Mary said.
Mary added that she believes students will carry the lessons they learn in school about gender into adulthood. They will make choices they’ll never be able to take back, she said.
“At 18, magically, a switch isn't going to go off and say, ‘Okay, that was fun in high school. Now, I'm just gonna go on and live my life,’” she said.
The best solution for the transgender ideological takeover of schools is for parents to speak publicly at school board meetings, said Mary.
“If they start to get more and more parents speaking out, they start to get media coverage,” she added.
For children older than 2nd Grade, the curriculum encourages transgenderism in more subtle ways.
The curriculum for children in 3rd Grade through 5th Grade encourages them to think in terms of “gender stereotypes.”
It also offers no positive ways to be a man or a woman. But it mentions much about constraints.
Stereotypes chain gender-typical children, the curriculum suggests. Stereotypes say boys and girls can’t play with the same toys.
“Chart students’ ideas about what makes something a girls’ or boys’ toy. Then ask students if they can think of any real, serious reason why a particular toy is better for a girl or a boy.
"Ask them what it might feel like to want or prefer to play with a toy that most people think belongs to a different gender,” the curriculum reads.
For students of all ages, there are no mentions of “gender stereotypes” being positive behavior.
Some lessons show men as sex-obsessed louts who won’t take “no” for an answer. Women are portrayed as pathologically submissive.
“The bottom line is that stereotypes are destructive because they limit our potential. Boys are not born to be violent, or have unhealthy attitudes towards girls. We learn these attitudes and behaviors through stereotypes of what society thinks it means to ‘Act Like A Man,’” the high school-level curriculum reads.
If a man and a woman have relationships that fit gender stereotypes, “They don’t have many skills around creating a fair and supportive relationship,” the curriculum reads.
“Peter acts controlling and Trish is passive and always putting Peter’s wants and needs first,” the curriculum reads in one example of gender stereotypes.
The curriculum undergirds this philosophy with examples of LGBT history like the Stonewall Riots, how the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, and hate crimes.
The LGBT curriculum in all grades isn’t tied directly to lessons in reading, math, or science.
Instead, it seems to be an education in how family and gender work. It combines these things with mental health advice and coping strategies like controlled breathing exercises and meditation strategy.
The youngest children learn the most vividly pro-LGBT parts of the curriculum, which tend to go under seemingly innocuous names like “Love Makes a Family” or “Your Gender Shouldn’t Limit You.”
Parents Fight Back
Parent Regina Leonard from Hermon, Maine, said she is researching pro-LGBT curriculum with a group of local parents.
“The more I'm digging, the more I'm finding about all kinds of things,” she said.
Leonard first heard about the issues with curriculum because another Maine parent, Shawn McBreairty, fought Critical Race Theory and gender ideology in his school.
Leonard asked her principal whether her local public school taught radical gender ideology. He told her it didn’t, she said.
But when she investigated, she found the middle school had books on transgenderism and sexuality in its library, she said.
The high school had a Gender and Sexuality Alliance club, gay pride displays with promotional material, and a book titled Milk and Honey that included sexually explicit poetry and images.
“There's some really graphic sketch images. It's extremely sexual,” Leonard said of the book. “If you put those images on social media ... they will be taken down.”
The radical ideologies and sexually explicit content pushed on her children make Leonard feel afraid, she said.
“I'm a little worried. I'm scared. I feel like I'm losing my rights as a parent, especially putting my kid in public school. I'm even scared to take him to the doctor because of it being pushed on me,” she said.
Many parents are reacting by taking their children out of public schools, she added.
It’s not clear how many kids are leaving Maine schools for this reason, but she estimates the numbers are high.
One parent told her that 13 kids in his neighborhood have left public school over gender ideology issues.
Some of the kids who remain have taken up strange gender identities, said Leonard. One 6th Grade girl identifies as bisexual. Another identifies as a cat.
“And she's hissing at kids, and the parents will call to [hear] ‘Teach your children to be more accepting,’” said Leonard of the cat girl issue.
Leonard estimates that a sizeable majority of her school’s parents would oppose transgender ideology in school. But most parents are ignorant, she said. School leaders who oppose the ideology fear it too much to act against it, she added.
“Why is everyone so scared to speak up? Someone's got to stand up and do the right thing,” Leonard said.