According to policy for Maryland schools, school staff are able to keep gender identity information from parents if a student wishes.
In an effort to be more inclusive, Maryland schools have vowed to keep students’ gender identity a secret from parents. This is despite the fact that students under 18 years of age are not legally old enough to make medical decisions for themselves or enter into legal contracts, nor are they old enough to understand the full repercussions of seeking gender transition treatments. This issue has become such a divisive topic that while the federal government and areas like Maryland promote expanding identity politics in schools, some states have created their own parental rights laws and even banned transgender students from using joining sports teams or using restrooms based on how they feel because of the long-term consequences that have already begun to harm young adults who were affirmed in their choice to live as the opposite sex.
Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, Texas, and 14 other states have policies which protect natural born females from being forced to compete against biological males who believe they are girls. Trans activists claim that these regulations violate the rights of trans students and so some states have moved to further support LGBTQ+ children. The Montgomery County Public School district is a network of Maryland schools that have adopted this philosophy.
The Maryland schools adopted guidelines that affirm gender theory. These allow students to participate in school life and activities based on their gender identity, integrate and normalize gender nonconforming behaviors within school culture, and provide students with the support they need to transition. These are all questionable policies, being that transgender students are more likely to experience severe psychological distress than their peers, and that 78% of LGBTQ+ college students displayed at least one or more mental illnesses according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
Many officials and school employees assume that these students develop depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts due to the social stigmas surrounding their identity. For years now public schools and colleges have worked to protect LGBTQ+ rights and provide safe spaces, yet youth mental illness rates are higher than ever. This may suggest that gender confusion itself is linked to the more complex mental issue of gender dysphoria. By affirming gender dysphoric thoughts, the Maryland schools may actually be perpetuating student mental health issues.
As if that weren’t concerning enough, the Maryland schools’ new policy states that it will keep students’ gender confusion or a change in gender identity from parents. So not only is the school system normalizing this, but they are also abetting in isolating this information from their families. The legality of this is still being questioned as parents are currently suing school districts in various states for hiding their childrens’ gender transition from them.
Many parents are not even given the chance to support their children as public schools usurp parental rights. This has led to a growing number of transition regret cases in young adults. Many physicians are advised to affirm gender identity and provide hormone treatment options, but the long-term effects of these drugs are still being studied. The side-effects range from Type II diabetes and infertility to depression anxiety, suicidal thoughts, as well as cardiovascular issues. Some doctors are even encouraging transition surgery for minors, which leaves children’s bodies permanently scarred. Whether the Maryland school district will take responsibility should students experiencing gender confusion fall prey to these side effects and experience complications is unknown. What is known is that as transition rates go up so do detransition rates.
While the Maryland school may wish to help students, public education is not a family. It is an institution. It is where children go to learn, and so if these institutions are promoting gender theory, students are more likely to accept it as fact even though it is touted as a one-sided political ideology. This leads to increased rates of gender confusion which are likely to increase the risk of mental distress and mental health problems as students age. Schools that support this rhetoric need to take notice of the entire issue and the long-term data that displays the serious concerns and issues that plague trans students