‘Genderbread’ School Assignment Sparks Debate

Santa Fe High School | Image by Santa Fe HS/Facebook

A recent psychology assignment on the concept of gender at a Houston high school has drawn criticism for its perceived promotion of transgender ideology among minors.

The assignment, given to students at Santa Fe High School, required students to analyze aspects of gender using an online tool called “the Genderbread Person.” 

Junior Shay Cundiff, 17, told KPRC 2 News, “It made me feel uncomfortable and distasteful.”

She explained that students were tasked with identifying their gender and sexual orientation, as well as writing an essay about their feelings on the subject. The assignment, part of a dual credit college-level psychology course with the College of the Mainland, caught both students and parents off guard.

Shay’s father, Shad, emphasized to KPRC 2 the lack of awareness regarding the curriculum.

“We wouldn’t have really known … unless my wife hadn’t seen what she was writing and started talking to her about it, we wouldn’t have really known,” said Shad.

The assignment’s content not only prompted concerns among parents but garnered the attention of Texas Sen. Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston).

Middleton condemned the assignment to KPRC 2, citing Texas Senate Bill 14, which prohibits transgender hormones and surgeries for minors. Middleton opined that the lesson appeared to advocate for practices deemed illegal under state law and alleged that it was developed by Planned Parenthood.

Despite the outcry, Shay intends to remain in the course to maintain the credits she has earned. Santa Fe ISD officials disavowed the assignment, stating it was not a part of the curriculum.

The College of the Mainland, which is responsible for the course, acknowledged receiving complaints and pledged to investigate the matter, yet did not release an official statement regarding the “Genderbread” assignment, according to KPRC 2.

The assignment’s creator, Sam Killermann, has defended its use as a tool for understanding nuances in gender.

“I published my first version of the Genderbread Person, an adorable, digestible model for understanding the complexity of gender, to accompany an essay in 2011,” Killermann states on her website.

Since its creation, Killermann’s Genderbread Person has been widely adopted by educators and organizations. The “resource” has been downloaded over 2,724,000 times in 108 different countries and has been translated into six different languages.

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