Middle School Teacher Under Fire for Distributing Graphic on Gender Identity

Tags: Currents, California, Education, Gender, Media, National News, School, Youth

Currents News Staff

There is controversy at Denair Middle School in California, surrounding a graphic called ‘the gender unicorn.’

The graphic, which can be found on the website for Trans Student Educational Resources, is meant to educate people about gender identity.

It was distributed by a science teacher to roughly 50 students on the first day of school.

“It was not an assignment. Kids were not asked to fill it out. He really was using it as a reference point,” said Terry Metzger, superintendent of the Denair Unified School District.

She said the seventh and eighth grade science teacher handed out copies of the infographic to help explain why he doesn’t use the pronoun ‘mister,’ instead using m-x, pronounced ‘mixed,’ a title which doesn’t imply a gender.

“I’ve talked to a lot of parents and a lot of grandparents and, I know a lot of them have called the school and complained about it,” said Tammy Sout, the grandmother of one of the students. 

Metzger said the school’s principal happened to be in the class at the time, and told the teacher to stop handing out copies of the gender unicorn.

“It was probably was not appropriate just in the way that the handout looked, and it looked like it needed to be filled out, and so it was just probably the wrong tool,” she explained. 

“It is a touchy subject and of course it’s going to be when it comes to youth,” said Katalina Zombrano, the gender spectrum coordinator for the Central Valley Pride Center.

Zombrano said she uses the gender unicorn graph for educational purposes for her job, adding that while she says the point is not to pry at someone’s sexuality, she does feel that a breakdown in communication is the real culprit in the case at Denair Middle School.

“There is going to be a lot of people who just don’t get it,” she said, “we understand that we respect that, but maybe a little more planning next time, a little bit more finesse.”

The school’s superintendent declined to say whether the teacher faced disciplinary action.