“Biology is Not Bigotry,” 1st Grade Teacher Tells CA Legislators

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Testifying before a California legislative committee last month, first-grade teacher Raechel Olson told legislators she would “take a bullet for any child,” but she would not harm children by following the state’s proposed gender identity training. Raechel Olson delivered this message to the Senate Education Committee last month in opposition to AB 493, a teacher training bill requiring teachers and schools to refer LGBT identifying students to supportive LGBTQ activist organizations, provide them with LGBTQ peer groups, and create school-wide programs urging the student body to support the LGBTQ identities of students. Olson’s views received a chilly reception.

In her July 10 testimony, Olson recounted the gender training she recently received from Queerly Elementary, her Moraga School District‘s contracted LGBT trainer. “I was told to use preferred pronouns to address students, to stop referring to students by their biological genders as boys and girls, and to teach sexual orientation and various gender identities,” the 20-year teaching veteran told legislators on the Senate Education Committee. “All of which seeks to coerce teachers and students to accept and express ideas about gender and gender identity that may violate their individual beliefs and consciences, especially those who subscribe to the gender binary which is rooted in objective biology as opposed to subjective thoughts or feelings. Biology is not bigotry.” (Worksheet from Olson’s Queerly Elementary training)

First Grade Teacher Raechel Olson and Psychologist Dr. Laura Haynes testify against AB 493 on July 10 in the California Senate Education Committee. (Their testimony begins at the 5: 30-minute mark)

Olson also argued that AB 493 infringes upon the constitutional rights of teachers and students. “This bill may violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which requires government neutrality on religion. LGBTQ trainings often cast aspersions upon sincerely held religious beliefs of many public school educators,” Olson said. She also referenced a recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion against a California law that reiterated this First Amendment principle: “the government may not compel individuals to express ideas or thoughts with which they disagree.”

“Tolerance is a two-way street. Families and students who have different views of sexuality and gender than are promoted by AB 493 (for example, those who affirm the gender binary) must have their beliefs tolerated in our public schools. That is the law and it is the right thing to do. “

1st Grade Teacher Raechel Olson

Testifying with Olson against AB 493 was Psychologist Dr. Laura Haynes, who explained the dangers of affirming the gender confusion of minors, as this bill requires. “Ten professional organizations say LGBTQ feelings are not just biologically born that way or who someone is. There are psychological and social influences too,” Haynes told the committee.  “LGBTQ and questioning feelings commonly diminish or resolve for some minors by adulthood, but social affirmation by teachers and peers that AB 493 mandates lock-in LGBTQ feelings that otherwise would have resolved for many.”

Haynes also explained the horrifying medical problems that can result if teachers lock-in transgender identities in minors.

“Locking in transgender identities sends students down a treatment path of hormones and surgeries, leading to loss of sexual pleasure, fertility, breasts, and reproductive organs, and higher rates of psychiatric hospitalizations, deaths from heart disease and cancers, and a 19 times more completed suicides. Do you want to be responsible for this?”

Psychologist, Dr. Laura Haynes

After Olsen and Haynes finished their testimony, the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Connie Leyva, disregarded their arguments. Instead, she responded by saying:

“As a proud mother of a gay daughter I find a lot of what the opposition said to be quite offensive and I think that if we as a society do not learn about other people, that is when we have bullying and when we have problems. I would put my daughter up against anyone’s straight daughter. We have a daughter that is straight. They are both wonderful young women and who she loves should not change anything about the way she lives her life.” 

Senator Connie Leyva, Chair of the Senate Education Committee

AB 493 was approved by the Senate Education Committee, July 10. Senators voted 6 – 0, with one senator not voting. Voting YES were: Maria Elena Durazo (D), Steven M. Glazer (D), Connie Leyva (D), Mike McGuire (D), Richard Pan (D), Scott Wilk (R)

Not voting: Senator Ling Ling Chang (R)

AB 493 is now pending before the Senate Appropriations Committee with a hearing date set for Monday, August 12.

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