Letters to the Editor: How teaching gender diversity in public schools fights bullying

Gender diversity education in Oak Park
A crocheted rainbow is attached to the playground fence at Red Oak Elementary School in Oak Park on Sept. 30.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Your article on the controversy in Oak Park over the new curriculum on gender diversity was well balanced. However, it omitted two important points.

First, very young children might not yet realize whether they are gay or transgender. However, even a pre-school child understands if he or she has two mothers or two fathers.

Even in kindergarten, children discuss their families with their classmates. Their children might not be gay or transgender, but those children might still be victims of bullying because of their families. So yes, teaching about gender diversity is most definitely age-appropriate in elementary school.


Second, at a school board meeting earlier this year, some parents cited the Bible in making statements opposing the gender diversity curriculum. It is inappropriate for government-run schools to base their curricula on religious dogma.

David E. Ross, Oak Park


To the editor: If a fictional character named Casey wants to glam up his nails and be “Sparkle Boy,” it’s fine with me. However, please do not expect me (or any public school teacher) to read and discuss this type of literature with third graders.

Your child’s teacher barely has time to teach multiplication tables let alone issues like gender diversity. That kind of education is the privilege and responsibility of the parents, not the schools.

Kim Righetti, Upland


To the editor: Children should be taught tolerance, which means teaching them that each person is an individual and that gender stereotypes (as well as racial stereotypes) have been invented by groups of people as a means of oppressing others.

But telling children that boys can wear sparkly clothes conveys the message that girls inherently like sparkly clothes, which is a gender stereotype. Sadly, it seems that some of these children’s books aimed at teaching tolerance are in fact reinforcing gender stereotypes about girls and women.

Anne Rettenberg, San Rafael