Gender identity belongs in science class, Missouri teacher says

(The Daily Signal) – A Missouri high school teacher has discussed her ex-husband’s transgender identity with minors in her science class, a former student told The Daily Signal. State law…

(The Daily Signal) – A Missouri high school teacher has discussed her ex-husband’s transgender identity with minors in her science class, a former student told The Daily Signal. State law forbids teaching students about human sexuality without parental consent.

The science teacher in the Webster Groves School District in St. Louis, Missouri, had previously written an article in 2020 saying her spouse’s “gender transition” from male to female “considerably” changed her practice as a science teacher.

“At the beginning of my genetics unit, I specifically talk about the difference between chromosomal identity and gender identity and expression,” Elizabeth Hobbs wrote for the National Science Teaching Association. “This is probably the most significant practice; if gender identity and expression is not discussed, it does not exist to students, and that means a student’s identity can be erased, left out, or ignored.”

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Hobbs’ ex-husband wore mastectomy inserts, prosthetic breasts meant for women with breast cancer who have had mastectomies. He wore them until his hormone regime of estrogen and spironolactone blocked his male hormones and gave him larger breasts, making the inserts unnecessary, she shared in the article.

A recent graduate of Webster Groves High School confirmed Hobbs discussed her ex-husband’s so-called gender identity in class.

Lessons on human sexuality, including gender identity, are commonplace at Webster Groves. The Missouri attorney general’s office has repeatedly asked Webster Groves School District to “cease and desist” lessons on human sexuality, including gender identity, without proper notification to parents, The Daily Signal reported.

The teacher is a writer for “Gender-Inclusive Biology,” a website with biology lesson plans that aim to “embed” so-called gender inclusion as a “recurring part of the curriculum, not a one-time lesson, an extension, or a reaction to an interaction.”

The website encourages science teachers to deny biological sex, saying things like, “‘Ovaries produce eggs’ in meiosis, not ‘women produce eggs.’”

In her National Science Teaching Association article, Hobbs said science teachers should be prepared to answer questions about biological sex—from the lens of radical gender ideology.

“Biology teachers will have more questions about trans[gender] people because their content usually includes chromosomal inheritance and sex-linked traits,” she wrote.

“The spectrum of gender identity includes people identifying as male, female, or nonbinary,” she continued. “People can also identify as ‘agender,’ which means they are not on the spectrum and do not identify with any gender.”

Teachers are responsible for modeling “gender inclusion” to their students, Hobbs wrote.

“Many teachers might assume they only need to recognize that gender is a spectrum in the genetics unit, and only when there is a trans[gender] or gender-complex student in the class,” she said. “I feel that every cis-gender (gender identity and gender expression culturally match sex assigned at birth) student also needs to hear and have adults model this recognition.”

Hobbs’ syllabi include a statement of support for LGBTQ students, according to Hobbs’ article.

“I identify as an ally to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) community, and I am available to listen and support you in an affirming manner,” she wrote. “Please communicate with me regarding how I can meet and support your needs. Know that your counselors and principals are committed to supporting you.”

Hobbs said she “polices” student interactions “so that gender-complex students know they are safe.”

Parents may be unaware of their child’s gender identity, Hobbs said. “Students may or may not be changing clothes when they get to school or before they return home,” she wrote.  

Some students who are confused about their gender may dress as one sex at home and as the other at school and hide it from their parents.

“At some point, parents can begin to see the new possibilities and the exciting reality of their child becoming their more-authentic self,” she continued.

Educators uncomfortable with “gender-complex students” for religious reasons need to work on their prejudice, she argued.

“Public school educators may not agree on the choices students make, but we will have transgender students in our classrooms, as well as gender-complex parents and colleagues,” she said. “People who know my background have asked me to provide guidance in a science teacher-specific context. Before we can make changes in our classroom, we need to listen in an unprejudiced way so that there is heart behind our actions.”

She criticized people from the district for being scared of a man with beard and dress who entered the girls’ bathroom.

“This person may have been figuring out if they felt comfortable wearing dresses or felt that the beard helped express the masculine part, while the dress helped express the feminine part,” she said. “When students or colleagues mention or act on harmful stereotypes, it is important to specifically address and counter them.”

She said the notion that students identify as transgender just to look at the opposite sex in a locker room is “unfounded.” Sometimes doctors make mistakes on the sex of intersex babies, she said.

Intersex people make up less than 2% of the population, and only 0.018%, according to some.

Hobbs declined to comment for this story, referring The Daily Signal to the leaders of the “Gender-Inclusive Biology” website.

A Webster Groves mom said she was horrified to hear of the teacher discussing her transgender ex-husband in class. The mom asked to remain anonymous to maintain her privacy, citing the small size of the community.

“I was shocked to learn that the physics teacher was sharing such personal information—her husband being transgender and transitioning—to my high school student,” she told The Daily Signal. “This is totally inappropriate.  Webster Groves High School focused a lot on ‘social emotional learning.’ Unfortunately, this sometimes translated into teachers turning their classrooms into their own personal therapy sessions.”