Minnesota Saint Paul Public Schools’ Office of Equity is working with AMAZE, an equity training and consulting firm, “to further develop culturally responsive classrooms in which every student can learn about themselves and their peers while engaged in curriculum connected to reading and writing standards,” nonprofit Parents Defending Education uncovered.
Catering to young children as well as adolescents, the company’s programming focuses on fostering gender and racial inclusivity in schools. For example, AMAZE advertises “PRIDE Resources” for children as young as toddlers for the purpose of “supporting children with gay and lesbian family members” and “understanding gender diversity.”
The organization authored a guide designed for elementary schoolers titled, “Understanding Gender Diversity,” which provides caregivers with lessons to help “guide conversations with children on gender diversity, including gender identity and expression.”
Some recommended books include My Princess Boy, a story of a young boy with gender confusion, and When Aidan Became a Brother, a story of a young girl’s gender transition to a boy. AMAZE noted that My Princess Boy is “about a little boy who loves the color pink, sparkly things, and being a princess,” and is meant to spark conversations about gender non-conformity. The summary for When Aidan Became a Brother reads: “When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. When Aidan told his parents he felt like more of a boy, they were responsive and fixed things in his life so they fit him better.” The book selection teaches self-advocacy when it comes to gender identity in children, AMAZE notes.
While the school district has entered into a business relationship with AMAZE, it has not yet specified which products it will apply in the elementary and secondary classrooms.
Saint Paul Public Schools has a “Gender Inclusion Policy” which declares that students should be referred to by their preferred gender pronouns and that students should be allowed to “participate in co-curricular and extracurricular activities in a manner consistent with their gender identity including, but not limited to, intramural and interscholastic athletics.”
A brochure for the policy states that one in six students within SPPS identifies as “lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning (LGBQ)” and that 3.5 percent of students in the school district “identify as transgender.” The poster also asks teachers to “avoid binary speech such as ‘boys and girls’” and “highlight lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in curriculum.”