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DISD Seeks LGBTQ Clinic’s Advice on ‘Gender Support’

Dallas ISD LGBTQ Youth Banner | Image by Dallas ISD
Dallas ISD LGBTQ Youth Banner | Image by Dallas ISD

Dallas ISD sought the advice of an LGBTQ-centered clinic on how to better enable “youth transitioning,” according to internal communications obtained in an open records request by The Dallas Express.

Email communications provided to DX revealed a discussion about supporting students who identify as transgender between Mahoganie Gaston, Dallas ISD’s coordinator of support services for LGBTQ youth, and Leslie McMurray, the transgender education and advocacy associate for Resource Center.

Resource Center is a DFW-based clinic providing services specifically to members of the LGBTQ community that offers transgender hormone administration and reference letters for cross-gender surgeries.

McMurray, who identifies as a transgender woman, began the 2020 email exchange with a message about a teacher at Dallas ISD’s E.D. Walker Middle School who had asked if Resource Center could help out with the school’s Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) club.

Gaston thanked McMurray for passing the information along, to which McMurray replied, “If I can help in any way, please let me know.”

The LGBTQ support services coordinator then took the opportunity to ask for information on enabling student gender transitions that she could distribute to schools.

“Do you have any literature that you can provide about youth transitioning?” Gaston emailed. “A campus just called and wants to provide education materials to staff.”

“I’ve attached a document that covers a lot of area from the HRC,” McMurray responded. “It should be able to answer most if not all questions. Sometimes it can help to speak with someone who has transitioned or the staff may have questions on some elements. I’d be happy to help – just let me know.”

The attached document was not provided in the public information request. However, HRC is largely known as an abbreviation for the Human Rights Campaign, a left-wing activist group that endorses hormone inhibitors and transgender hormone usage for children. Dallas ISD cited HRC’s transgender policies in its “LGBTQ+ Resources for Dallas ISD & Surrounding Communities” guide launched in 2021, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

“Thanks. I have this one as well and want to start implementing the Gender Support Plans on campuses,” Gaston told McMurray in response to the email attachment.

“Sounds awesome! Of course, we are here to help. I’m so proud of the work DISD is doing!” McMurray replied, concluding the 2020 exchange.

Gaston did not elaborate on the “Gender Support Plans” ostensibly mentioned in the HRC document. However, HRC has a “Gender Support Checklist for Transgender and Non-Binary Students” published under its Welcoming Schools project, which aims to instruct elementary school teachers on how to support transitioning students.

The checklist directs school staff to grant the requests of elementary school students who want to change their names and pronouns or switch bathrooms, locker rooms, or sports teams to correspond with their gender identity rather than biological sex.

The checklist emphasizes that teachers should be aware of whether a transgender student’s parents “affirm” their child’s gender identity. It suggests staff should not share certain information about a transgender student with their parents.

“Do appropriate staff know how to communicate with the family while protecting the student’s well-being? Every situation is unique,” the checklist reads. “… Has the school connected the family to local resources such as a Transgender or Non-Binary Parent Support Group? (Do this only if this is safe for the student. Always ask the student about family dynamics).”

Dallas ISD did not respond to a request for comment.

One year after the email exchange between Gaston and McMurray, the district published the “LGBTQ+ Resources for Dallas ISD & Surrounding Communities” guide uncovered by DX. It advised children on how to transition genders and recommended specific transgender clinics. Gaston co-wrote the document along with a Texas social worker who identifies as transgender and provides reference letters for sex alteration surgeries.

Robyn Harris, the deputy chief of communication services for Dallas ISD, previously told DX the resource document was “only available by request from an adult.” However, a further investigation revealed it was a public Google document openly promoted on Dallas ISD’s social media. The document was made private after its existence was publicized by DX.

At the time, the district’s “Support Services for LGBTQ Youth” page also mentioned a program run by Resource Center in partnership with Dallas ISD, Out for Safe Schools, which trained teachers on how to work with LGBTQ students, as previously reported in a series by DX. Documents obtained in public information requests showed the district struggled to get teachers to sign up for the program and appeared to never properly certify the program.

Mentions of the Out for Safe Schools program were deleted from the Dallas ISD and Resource Center websites after the DX series. Dallas ISD has not responded to requests for comment on whether the program is still in operation.

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