top of page

A letter to the teacher

Kia ora [teacher]

Regarding the health curriculum, we are happy for [child] to learn about puberty, gay, lesbian and bisexual sexualities, reproduction, menstruation, conception etc.

We wish to opt [child] out of any discussion about gender identities. We consider gender theory (the idea that everyone has an inner feeling known as a gender identity and that this subjective feeling should be prioritised in law and policy over biological sex) unscientific, sexist and homophobic.

For example the book "Jack (Not Jackie)" promotes the sexist idea that if you are a girl and you don't conform with sex stereotypes, then you must really be a boy.

A better book (and one that was included in the Navigating the Journey materials and is probably in our school's collection) is "My Princess Boy". This story is about a boy who doesn't conform with sex stereotypes (he likes pink and wearing dresses). His family accept his non-conformity and there is no suggestion that his gender non-conformity means he is any less a boy or that he has magically changed sex.

We also think it is important for boys and young men to learn to respect females' boundaries, to understand that girls and women have the right to say no to males - however those males might identify - who might wish to access spaces reserved for females. Young girls should also be taught that they are allowed to set boundaries. It would also be healthy for boys to be taught to be more accommodating and accepting of males who don't conform with sex stereotypes.

We also have concerns about the affirmation approach that underpins the school curriculum (affirming the cross-sex identity of children experiencing gender dysphoria by for example requiring others to use preferred pronouns). NZ's Ministry of Health is currrently conducting a review of evidence for treatment of gender dysphoria in children and it would be prudent for schools to be cautious about promoting any particular approach in the absence of a good evidence base.

I mention this as your synopsis includes the discussion topic "Community actions to make everyone safe, comfortable, and included", and in my experience this has meant promoting use of opposite sex pronouns (or neo pronouns) or using opposite sex bathrooms/changing rooms.

We teach our kids that everybody is equally deserving of kindness, regardless of how they identify. However, treating other people well does not require that we share in their subjective beliefs about themselves. For example we are atheists but we respect the right of other people to hold their religious or spiritual beliefs.

Ngā mihi


bottom of page