It’s about truth: school trustees should be primed on God’s design for gender and sexuality in schools
Last week, public school trustees in BC’s North Okanagan-Shuswap region received an overview of what SOGI (instruction and policies about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools) is and what it means for schools and students. A local reporter covered the presentation led by the school district’s SOGI lead, and wrote an article titled: “It’s about inclusion: North Okanagan-Shuswap trustees primed on SOGI in schools.”
After reading the article, I decided to make some edits, replacing the bits and pieces that promote SOGI with bits and pieces that promote a biblical view of gender and sexuality. In other words, this is how school trustees should be advised on the topic. Red text indicates my rewording, while black text appeared in the original article linked above. (It’s highly recommended that you read the original article before reading this one.)
It’s not about making people into something they’re not, but making sure there’s room for everyone to be who they were created to be.
This is one of the ways Levi Minderhoud addressed misunderstandings around SOGI (Sexual Orientation Gender Identity) in B.C. schools.
“Schools are supposed to be a place where everyone learns what is good and true,” said Minderhoud.
“For some students and families the truth of God’s Word is a window, and for others, it is a mirror,” said Minderhoud.
Providing some historic background leading to the presence of SOGI in schools, Minderhoud explained that in 1996, the Canadian Human Rights Act was amended to include sexual orientation as one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination; in 2005, gay marriage was legalized in Canada; in 2016, gender identity and expression were given protected status under the BC Human Rights Code; and in 2018, the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC from the University of BC) study released statistics and a call for action.
“It’s staggering how poorly some of our youth were doing in B.C. schools in terms of self harm, bullying, suicide because they don’t fully understand how God created them in his image, as male and female, and how much He values each of them as a human being,” said Minderhoud. “Schools could play a major role in saving lives and improving the mental-health outcomes for both staff and student groups – helping them find their worth and identity outside of themselves could make a big difference.”
Back to the question of what gender or sexual education looks like in schools, in short, Minderhoud said it’s about truth.
“For example, what would the truth about gender or sexuality in Kindergarten or Grade 1 look like? Well, it would just be the inclusion of a book on families, that every child has exactly one mom and dad… A family may have a trans-racially adopted child, or a family may have a disabled parent, or something like that,” said Minderhoud. “It’s just trying to make sure that every kid, regardless of how sinful human nature may have impacted our families, is taught what is good and true.”
“We’re moving away from a unquestioning kind of acceptance and moving into a celebration of the truth. It’s really cool to be true to how God created you to be, whatever that looks like. It’s really cool to be unique, specially made in the image of God. It’s really cool to be a boy who is a ballet dancer. It’s really cool to be a girl who is a rugby player. Boys can participate in activities that are stereotypically feminine. Girls can participate in activities that are stereotypically masculine. That’s awesome and worthy of celebration. But they still are boys and they still are girls. This does not make them transgender.”
Minderhoud also stressed how every time we “normalize gender or sexual diversity, we normalize an incomplete understanding of who God created them to be. Rather than helping them find their place in God’s world, we are taking away their road map.”
“When we loosen up the confines around reality and when we make our schools more inclusive, SOGI inclusive, we end up saying that God’s intention to make you male or female doesn’t really matter,” said Minderhoud.
Asked at what age this education awareness and inclusiveness begins in schools, Minderhoud said it’s addressed through a K-12 lens, but not a distinct curriculum.
“I don’t go into schools and teach a course on truth or gender or sexuality. If I’m asked to I will,” said Minderhoud. “In terms of my role, it’s to make sure we explain in all course and policies what it means to be made male and female in the image of God.”
Minderhoud explained that promoting God’s design for human gender and sexuality across the province should include a board policy, a district lead position, school lead training, development of guidelines, CEA education, bus driver education, clerical education, principals and vice-principals education and trustee education. Direct student support includes itinerant and school-based counsellor support, visible signs of classroom and school welcome and safety, accessible single stall washrooms, and male and female only washrooms.
More information about God’s design for human gender and sexuality, as well as other resources for families, can be found in the Bible, the New Reformation Catechism on Gender and Sexuality, and on ARPA’s website.