The Minneapolis-based Target Corporation has donated more than $2 million to an organization that encourages school districts to conceal students’ gender transitions from parents.
Target has donated at least $2.1 million to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Fox News first reported. Target says on its website that it has partnered with GLSEN for 10 years to support “its mission to create affirming, accessible and antiracist spaces for LGBTQIA+ students.”
GLSEN published a model policy in October 2020 that recommends school districts adopt the following language: “Staff or educators shall not disclose any information that may reveal a student’s gender identity to others, including parents or guardians and other staff, unless the student has authorized such disclosure, the information is contained in school records requested by a parent or guardian, or there is another compelling need. This disclosure must be discussed with the student, prior to any action.”
Withholding this information from parents “may represent a matter of safety and wellbeing at home” for some students, the model policy says.
“Students may not be ready for their parents or guardians to know about their gender identity or expression, or that they are expressing their affirmed gender in school. Before contacting the parent or guardian of a transgender or nonbinary student, school staff should clarify with the student whether to use their gender affirming name and the pronouns that correspond to their gender identity, or whether to use their legal name when corresponding with a parent/guardian,” it continues.
GLSEN also publishes resources for teachers on how to make math class “more inclusive of trans and non-binary identities.”
“Mathematics teachers need to be respectful of students’ names and pronouns, they need to be sure their classes do not alienate any students, and they need to support LGBTQ activities such as Day of Silence, Trans Awareness Week, and Ally Week,” says a blog post on the group’s website.
Day of Silence is an annual demonstration organized by GLSEN in which students are encouraged to remain silent throughout the day to protest the “silence which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination.” Schools in Minnesota have participated in the annual event.
The organization’s “Rainbow Library” program sends “LGBTQ+ affirming K-12 text sets” free of charge to schools across the country, including nine in Minnesota.
GLSEN responded to the Fox News report in a statement, saying it is under attack from “right-wing extremists” who are spreading “harmful and vicious lies.”
Target has released one statement regarding the controversy, saying it has “experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work” and would be “removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior.”
According to Newsweek, some Target locations have since received bomb threats from consumers who are angry with the decision to remove certain Pride items.