An education company based in Minnesota is promoting LGBT affirmation trainings and resources to parents and teachers around the country.
Gender Inclusive Schools was created by Dave Edwards, a former teacher and administrator in school districts around the United States, his website reads. Edwards also has attended social transition meetings with families.
Edwards has a transgender 13-year-old, as shared in a Gender Inclusive Schools Facebook post excerpting a Star Tribune article. The article labeled her as “Minnesota’s foremost advocate for transgender youth.”
The company hosts trainings in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools, another education group providing professional development to educators, specifically for “elementary school instructors,” the website shared.
These live virtual “back-to-school” trainings provide information on how parents and educators can utilize names and pronouns, social transitions and gender support plans, as well as book lists and lesson plans from Welcoming Schools.
Gender Inclusive Schools also has state-level policy guidance and a gender-inclusive policy builder resource. The company says 15 states and the District of Columbia have policy guidance supporting “transgender and diverse students.” It specifically provides state policies on “names and pronouns,” “gender transitions,” “athletics” and “restrooms and facilities.”
In a recent blog the company provides five reasons why LGBTQ+ affirming adults should run for school boards, including “supporting LGBTQ+ curriculum,” “being role models for LGBTQ+ youth” and “creating a more inclusive society.”
Another of its blogs discusses how the singular “they” pronoun is grammatically correct and how it is “important to embrace this stylistic change.”
The company also sells stickers saying “Protect Trans Kids,” “LGBTQ+ Affirming Educator,” and “Say Gay” – the latter one appearing to be a response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ parental rights law, which celebrities and the media misleadingly dubbed as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
It also sells an “LGBTQIA2S+ Safe Educator Badge,” which reads, “All Students Are Safe in My Space.” Gender Inclusive Schools also shared an image on Facebook from what seems to be a teacher’s post with the badge. The post reads, ”Ms. [name not shown], your name-y thingy always makes me happy. I love that you wear that.”
While Gender Inclusive Schools offers online trainings and resources, it also travels to schools and schools districts around the country.
In 2022, teachers in New York could gain credit to maintain their employment status by taking a training called “Intersectionality in Practice – Supporting Children and Families With Multiple Marginalized Identities in Early Childhood Programs” run by Edwards, Breitbart reported.
Bluffview Montessori School, a charter school in Minnesota, also offered staff training by Gender Inclusive Schools in 2019. Gender Inclusive Schools has “trained and supported” educators in over 150 schools and school districts, the website says.
The Lion reached out to Edwards, but he did not respond in time for publication. After emailing him, it appeared a writer for The Lion had been blocked from viewing the organization’s Facebook page.