Audio files from a recent California Teachers Association conference have revealed a deliberate effort by CTA members to recruit young children to LGBTQ+ clubs while keeping parents in the dark. The sold-out conference, entitled “2021 LGBTQ+ Issues Conference, Beyond the Binary: Identity & Imagining Possibilities,” happened in Palm Springs at the end of October. The conference featured workshops such as “How We Run A GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) in Conservative Communities.”
A recurring theme in the conference was the emphasis on subverting parental input and oversight. Conference attendees suggested new ways to fly under the radar, including changing the names of GSA clubs to more benign names such as “Equity Club.” Other attendees encouraged teachers not to keep an official roster or record of the clubs so that if a parent were to ask if their child was involved, the teacher could claim they were not aware.
Buena Vista Middle School teacher and LGBTQ-club leader Lori Caldeira said in one session: “In fact, sometimes we don’t really want to keep records because if parents get upset that their kids are coming—We’re like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe they came?’ You know, we would never want a kid to get in trouble for attending if their parents are upset.”
Recruitment to these clubs was also a featured topic, with strategies focused on bringing in kids as young as 11. The aforementioned “How We Run A GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) in Conservative Communities” workshop placed a heavy emphasis on “getting bodies in the door” as “we saw our membership numbers start to decline.” Teachers spoke plainly about the desire to get children fixated on gender issues. Much of the content propagated the idea that these clubs must reach young kids to bring about a new society.
Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, received leaked audio files of the conference that confirm these concerning details. “Parents can never underestimate the level of deception and manipulation that activist teachers are willing to go to on issues of gender,” Shrier said in a recent interview with Fox News. Shrier also wrote a lengthy piece on her personal website.
Shrier said, “You have to ask yourself, if teachers are willing to make these remarks in a broad address—a sold-out conference—what are they doing that we don’t know about?”
Shrier explained that while Americans as a whole generally support safe havens for gay students, the unfortunate reality is that “activists” have co-opted and exploited these groups for a broader agenda. Furthermore, these “activists” rely on naive parents and actively tell children involved to stay quiet about it. Shrier said, “Parents really need to tell their middle school students or high school students, ‘No teacher should ever tell you to keep a secret from your parents.’”
One of the most concerning facets of the whole conference were the strategies regarding surveillance of children and psychological manipulation. Middle school teacher Kelly Baraki said: “When we were doing our virtual learning, we totally stalked what they were doing on Google, when they weren’t doing school work. One of them was googling ‘Trans Day of Visibility.’ And we’re like, ‘Check.’ We’re going to invite that kid when we get back on campus. Whenever they follow the Google Doodle links or whatever, right, we make note of those kids and the things that they bring up with each other in chats or email or whatever.” She stated that they also monitored in-classroom discussions between kids to look for opportunities to invite them to clubs, “Because that’s really the way we kinda get the bodies in the door. Right?”
In the same session, Lori Caldeira bragged, “I’m the teacher who runs our morning announcements. That’s another type of strategy I can give you. I’m the one who controls the messaging. Everybody says, ‘Oh, Ms. Caldeira, you’re so sweet, you volunteered to do that.’ Of course I’m so sweet that I volunteered to do that. Because then I control the information that goes home.”
Caldeira gave another example when she received backlash after a seminar on bullying. She shared a plan to try to prevent backlash in the future: “Next year, we’re going to do just a little mind-trick on our sixth graders. They were last to go through this presentation and the gender stuff was the last thing we talked about. So next year, they’ll be going first with this presentation and the gender stuff will be the first thing they are about. Hopefully to mitigate, you know, these kind of responses, right?”
One school district has taken action after the conference. The Spreckles Union School District, where two of the conference attendees work, sent out an email with guidance regarding student clubs following Shrier’s article last Thursday. “The District has taken immediate steps to address several of the concerns raised in the article,” the email states, along with clarification regarding the necessity of attendance sheets, parental permission and outlines of material for all clubs in the school. The email also reiterated, “Teachers are prohibited from monitoring students’ online activity for any non-academic purposes.”
However, the leaked audio raises serious concerns about the motives of the educators involved in the conference. Though there has been a continuous denial of recruitment efforts, the conference’s content raises serious red flags. As Caldeira said, “If you want to bring a new world into existence, it seems—a good place to start is with other people’s kids.”