EXCLUSIVE: DISD Advises How to Transition Genders

Dallas ISD Sign
Dallas ISD Sign | Image by Fox 4

Dallas ISD published a resource guide that advises how to transition genders, recommends specific transgender clinics, directs schools to provide students access to restrooms that do not necessarily correspond to their sex at birth, and lists books for elementary students about children who identify as transgender.

A spokesperson for the district claimed the document is only accessible at the request of adults, but the document was previously made public and was openly touted by the school system.

The district’s “LGBTQ+ Resources for Dallas ISD & Surrounding Communities” was initially obtained by The Dallas Express through an open records request. The 24-page document contains an extensive list of resources, largely from LGBTQ advocacy groups, that endorse gender transition for minors.

Robyn Harris, the executive director of Dallas ISD’s communications team, told The Dallas Express the document “is only available by request from an adult,” which she specified to be parents or school employees.

“It’s only shared with them,” she said.

However, upon further investigation, it appears the document is available to the public and has been shared on social media by the district.

“Check out our new LGBTQ+ resource guide, created by DallasISD Mental Health Services Clinicians, Devyn Box, Dianne Bippert, Dr. Poonam Dubal, and Mahoganie Gaston, Coordinator for DallasISD’s LGBTQ+ Support Services! @dallasschools,” Dallas ISD Mental Health Services wrote in a since-deleted post on X in May 2021.

Dallas ISD also highlighted the document in its 2022 article on LGBTQ pride.

Harris did not respond to additional requests for comment about the district’s decision to publicize the document.

Box, one of the listed co-authors of the document, identifies as transgender and is a social worker in Texas who provides reference letters for sex alteration surgeries.

The document lists two Dallas-based transgender clinics under its “Gender-affirming care” section: the GENECIS clinic and Resource Center.

GENECIS used to facilitate minors’ use of transgender hormones but shuttered after a Texas law was enacted this year that prohibited the practice.

The Resource Center facilitates transgender hormone usage and provides references for sex alteration surgeries. Dallas ISD cites the organization under the “Mental Health Support,” “Youth Peer Support,” and “Medical and Health” sections of its resource document. The Resource Center has partnered with Dallas ISD through its Out for Safe Schools program, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Harris declined to answer questions about whether Dallas ISD will alter its promotion of gender transitions in response to the Texas law.

Dallas ISD, in the medical and health resources section of the document, cites another transgender clinic: Fenway Health in Boston. The clinic, the district writes, “guides on topics such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), self-injection guidance, and general medical and mental health resources.”

The “Tips on Screening Potential Providers for LGBTQ+-inclusiveness” section lists recommended questions to ask clinics before referring someone for gender transitioning, such as, “Does the facility have gender-neutral bathrooms?”

“It is critical that LGBTQ+ youth have access to affirming and inclusive care with medical providers,” the document reads.

The document lists several references on the topics of “socially transitioning” or “coming out,” which it defines as a “process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts, and appreciates their sexual orientation or gender identity and begins to share that with others.” The references include guides from the Trevor Project, which promotes minor access to transgender hormones, as well as other groups like the Human Rights Campaign, Transgender Teen Survival Guide, and PFLAG.

A section in the document titled “Social Transition” lists two references on the topic of chest binding — a practice used by some biological women to hide their breasts. Some medical experts argue this practice can cause collapsed lungs, compressed ribs, and back problems.

Dallas ISD also cites a mobile app in the document called Solace LGBT that “enables users to plot out their transition.”

Advocates of “social transitioning” and transgender hormone usage by minors cite research that suggests early gender transitioning can provide mental health benefits for children who identify as transgender. Other studies have found high suicide rates within the transgender community regardless of when they transition.

Other resources touted in the document include chat features for LGBTQ youth. QChatSpace.org is cited as a resource for “online discussion groups for LGBTQ+ teens ages 13 to 19.” GenderSpectrum.org is another recommended chat resource for teens. The resource touts a “Black trans, nonbinary and gender expansive teen group,” as well as a “POC trans, non-binary and gender expansive teen group,” and a “pre-teen group.”

Q+ Edu is also cited as a resource for “queer life, student leadership, parent support, education advocacy, and queer sex and relationships.”

Dallas ISD also recommends a series of books in the document for students. Books listed for elementary schools include When Aidan Became a Brother, which tells the story of a transgender boy. Recommended titles like Julián Is a Mermaid, My Princess Boy, and Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress focus on boys who want to dress like girls.

Four books are listed for middle schoolers, all of which focus on children who identify as transgender: Zenobia, Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen, Freeing Finch, and Wandering Son.

The recommended books for high schoolers focus heavily on minors who identify as transgender as well. They include titles such as Trans Mission: My Quest to Grow a Beard and Trans Plus: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You.

The multimedia resources section recommends a series of documentaries, YouTube channels, and magazines dedicated to promoting gender transitioning. One resource, “12 Portraits of Transmasculine People,” includes photos of shirtless individuals who have scars from where their breasts were removed.

One resource cited in the Dallas ISD document under the “For Educators, Professionals, & Clinicians” section details how schools should create inclusive environments for transitioning children. The American Civil Liberties Union, Gender Spectrum, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Education Association co-wrote this “Schools in Transition” guide. The guide advises schools to ensure students who identify as transgender have access to the restrooms and locker rooms of their preference. One section discredits students who claim such a policy can cause discomfort and put them at risk.

“While this concern may seem understandable, it is often based on the false idea that a transgender boy is not a ‘real’ boy, a transgender girl is not a ‘real’ girl, or that a transgender student wants access to those facilities for an improper purpose,” the document states.

“Schools should attempt to address these and any other misconceptions that may be causing the student’s discomfort,” the document continues. “In those conversations, it is important to remind students that behaving in a way that makes others uncomfortable is unacceptable and a violation of the school’s commitment to ensuring the safety of all students; but it must also be clear that a transgender student’s mere presence does not constitute inappropriate behavior.”

“Any student who feels uncomfortable sharing facilities with a transgender student should be allowed to use another more private facility like the bathroom in the nurse’s office, but a transgender student should never be forced to use alternative facilities to make other students comfortable,” the document states.

The document also advises schools to ensure students who identify as transgender can participate in sports in accordance with their gender identification.

“Even in states whose athletic associations do not have a written policy or rule on this topic, schools and districts should allow transgender students to compete on athletic teams based on gender identity,” the document states. “Unfortunately, schools often erroneously believe that a transgender student, particularly a transgender girl, will have a competitive advantage over the other players and therefore should not be allowed to compete on the team that matches their gender identity.”

“Concerns regarding competitive advantage are unfounded and often grounded in sex stereotypes about the differences and abilities of males versus females,” the document continues.

Texas law states that student-athletes can only compete against members of their own biological sex.

The Dallas ISD document includes a reference to the organization of Schuyler Bailar, a transgender athlete who advocates for transgender participation in sports according to gender identity.

The document has another section titled “Talking Points on LGBTQ+ issues: Transgender Exclusion Bills.” It provides four broken links to the American Psychological Association under the titles “Banning sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts,” “Opposing criminalizing gender affirmative care with minors,” “Opposing religious exemption bills,” and “Supporting local universal restroom ordinances.”

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