Calling it “age-appropriate,” a California early-childhood teacher recommended in a presentation that her peers use a cartoon “gender unicorn” to help illustrate sexuality and gender fluidity in elementary – and presumably preschool – classrooms.
Danita McCray, a child development teacher at an elementary school in the Sacramento City Unified District, gave the presentation at a 2021 California Teachers Association conference, according to a Fox News report.
“Now, early childhood is 0 to 8 years old, so that’s kind of like from preschool to third grade,” McCray reportedly told the group, adding that the focus of her workshop “is to provide you with positive strategies to support transgender and gender non-conforming children.”
McCray, who spoke during a professional development session, specifically recommended early childhood teachers introduce the concept of transgenderism to toddlers, saying the teachers should incorporate gender unicorn worksheet into their lessons.
The gender unicorn introduces the concepts of sexuality, gender identity, gender expression and physical attraction.
“I thought this would be a great tool that you can use with your students,” she said. “You can download them, and you can talk to them about it. And of course, it’s age-appropriate. And even at 5 years old, you can ask them, ‘Are you a girl or boy? … And you explain that to them. Yes, you were born a girl or boy, but you may not feel that way.”
In addition, McCray reportedly claimed the concepts of “sexual orientation” and “agender” are “pertinent” to the age group.
When questioned by one teacher about whether these conversations were appropriate for toddlers, McCray cited her knowledge and expertise. “I’ve done research. I have got my doctorate degree. Children are not too young at 5 years old. Children understand gender as early as three years old.”
McCray also told the conference she uses transgender children’s books in her classroom to help kids understand these complex topics, specifically touting controversial books such as I am Jazz and Sparkle Boy.
When asked whether she pushed toddlers into identifying with a specific sexuality or gender identity, McCray said she doesn’t recognize gender in her classroom.
“There’s no boy bathroom, no girl bathroom. So, I already set the tone and I don’t ask them … ‘Do you want to play with this doll?’ Everything is open to everyone and by everyone to be yourself.”
She also said she would “shut down” any child that believed in gender-specific toys or activities.
As for parents who don’t like such topics being introduced to such young children, she said they can always “go to another classroom.”
It’s not that cut-and-dried, says Wenyuan Wu of the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation.
“There is a fine line between promoting understanding of transgenderism in older kids and adults and inculcating the cult among young children. The line is between free expression and grooming,” she told Fox News.
Wu said she believes there’s a nationwide issue with “radical teacher-activists” pushing adult concepts on children.
The district pledged to look into McCray’s presentation and whether she violated district policy, but added that the policy “strongly supports the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming students … to ensure the safe and civil environment.”
The district also voiced its support for parents, in the face of McCray’s advice that they go elsewhere if unhappy with her instruction.
“SCUSD believes parents and families are equal partners in education. We value their contributions and will always work with them to address any issues or concerns they may have with a teacher or other staff member,” the spokesperson said.