Last March, Cocopah Middle School Principal Nick Noonan required teachers to attend a training on supporting and affirming LGBTQ+ ideologies in children. Email records show Noonan paid $500 in school funds for the two-hour training, “Safer Spaces,” conducted by the Phoenix chapter of Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national organization pushing LGBTQ+ ideologies onto minors and communities. Noonan characterized the training as professional development in an email obtained by AZ Free News.
The middle school’s GLSEN-affiliated club, Gender & Sexualities Alliance (GSA), club sponsor Laynee Langner requested the training. According to emails obtained by AZ Free News, Langner asked for the training out of concern that some teachers weren’t calling students by their preferred names. Langner advocated for Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) to allow students to wear IDs reflecting their preferred name rather than their given name, which they called a “deadname.”
For intervening on behalf of the children in the deadname debacle, GLSEN Phoenix awarded Langner and her club “GSA of the Year” late last year.
The act of grooming indicates preparing something or someone for a specific objective. In recent decades, that term became associated with the grooming of children for sexual purposes, such as pedophiles preparing children for molestation. Grooming usually happens to minors, but it may also occur with adults. Those who groom, nicknamed “groomers,” attempt to build trust, dependency, and other emotional connections with their target in order to manipulate and exploit them.
Over the last few years, opponents of sexualized K-12 curriculum and activities have identified its proponents as “groomers.”
The Cocopah Middle School “Safer Spaces” training from last March occurred over Zoom, and no recording was made available. However, the GLSEN website offers a 52-page “Safe Space Kit” for educators, which the organization also calls their “Guide to Being an Ally to LGBTQ Students.”
The guide has educators assess their personal beliefs to “dismantl[e] internalized homophobia and transphobia.” It doesn’t broach the topic of educators whose personal beliefs may conflict directly with LGBTQ+ ideologies, such as Christianity. The guide also teaches that sex is fluid, or “gender identity.”
Additionally, the guide instructs educators make it known they support LGBTQ+ children by posting LGBTQ+ materials like stickers and posters in their classroom or office, wearing LGBTQ+ buttons or wristbands, telling other educators they support LGBTQ+ students, reforming their speech to avoid gendered terms like “he” or “she” and instead use “they,” and rebuking anyone who displays “anti-LGBTQ+” behavior. It further instructs educators to hide the information a student discloses to them about their sexual orientation or gender identity from that student’s parents.
Educators are also told that they should incorporate LGBTQ+ ideologies in their curriculum and activities. Activism is encouraged: a checklist asks educators to review their school for LGBTQ+ inclusivity, such as gender-neutral or private bathrooms, transgender-friendly sports teams, and gender-neutral alternatives to Prom King and Queen.
In the concluding portion of the guide, educators are told to make an action plan of their own: how they can support LGBTQ+ students, educate students and staff on LGBTQ+ issues, advocate for relevant changes at their school, and what further resources or help they need to make their action plan possible.
A Senate bill to prohibit health care professionals from providing or referring gender transition procedures to children, the Arizona’s Children Deserve Help Not Harm Act, inspired a wide variety of testimony during Wednesday’s meeting of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, though it ultimately failed to pass. State Senator Tyler Pace (R-Mesa) voted with committee Democrats to kill the bill. Pace argued that parents should have the right to make these kinds of medical decisions for their children.
The bill, introduced by State Senator Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert), would’ve included children born with medically verifiable sex development disorders such as ambiguous external biological sex characteristics, abnormal sex chromosome structure, or abnormal sex steroid hormone production or action; children seeking treatment for infection, injury, disease, or disorders caused or exacerbated by a gender transition procedure; and children requiring procedures due to physical disorder, injury, or illness that would place them in imminent danger of death or bodily function impairment unless surgery is performed.
One of the main opponents of the bill that Pace sided with when gave his “no” vote was Gilbert resident Andi Young, who identified herself as the parent of a transgender child and budding licensed mental health professional for children. She neglected to mention that she’s been the co-chair for the Phoenix chapter of the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) for over a year now, the local plant of a national organization pushing LGBTQ ideologies and activism onto children. Young began working with GLSEN Phoenix as their community editor in May 2019 according to her LinkedIn, carrying out responsibilities such as pushing LGBTQ content in schools through educators, and lobbying for LGBTQ legislation at the Arizona State Capitol. Our reporters checked with the secretary of state’s office: although Young claims to be a lobbyist, she wasn’t registered as of press time. Young also didn’t identify herself as a lobbyist or as a member of GLSEN Phoenix on the bill’s page documenting community supporters and opponents.
AZ Free News reported last December that GLSEN Phoenix was advising educators to incorporate “secret libraries” in their classrooms to smuggle in LGBTQ and social justice curriculum. GLSEN is also behind the Gender and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) clubs popping up throughout K-12 schools; some schools call their GSA by other names, like “Student Alliance For Equality,” or “SAFE” clubs.
During her testimony to the senate committee, Young explained that she encouraged her daughter to transition after her daughter began to be withdrawn, depressed, and socially isolated around puberty and that no amount of therapy, support groups, or psychiatric medications helped. Based on the timeline of Young’s GLSEN involvement, it is unclear the extent of influence GLSEN and Young’s work had on her daughter.
Young asserted to the committee that a doctor who specialized in transgender youth told Young that they should give their daughter “gender-affirming medical treatment.” Young testified that her daughter’s mental condition improved over the last five months due to “gender-affirming medications.”
“I am terrified of what will happen to my child if they are denied this care that is so critical to their well-being,” said Young. “My child was assigned female at birth but they identify as trans-masculine but nonbinary. Gender is a spectrum, it’s not a one or the other. They’re on the male-leaning side of the gender spectrum.”
On the other side of the argument against the bill stood a transgender adult, who argued that children lacked the capacity to make these life-altering medical decisions. That transgender woman, Jadis Argiope, expressed gratitude that he was able to transition when he was an adult.
“We’re talking about the disturbing practice of putting kids through cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers, irreversible surgeries, all before they can even drink, vote, or get a credit card,” said Argiope. “And now, we know we can’t trust their judgment or self-perception because that used to be us. Yet when it comes to gender identity, we’re told to trust them unwaveringly. I urge you all: let’s be responsible and give these kids the time to grow up the best way they can for themselves and not stand by as psychotic doctors stand by and salivate over these kids and misguided suckers of parents/legal guardians who would sign away their rights.”
Argiope shared that he had removed his own testicles due to his gender dysphoria, a decision that made headlines nearly a decade ago. He argued that his condition has to do with body dysmorphia, and that intervening too early in a child’s life with affirmation and validation of their feelings would only harm them. Argiope said that it was unfashionable to give pushback to these kids, especially in the LGBTQ communities, but that it would be necessary.
“I had the agency as an adult to make this decision. As a child I wouldn’t have,” said Argiope. “Honestly a lot of this is about body dysmorphia. And I realize there’s a disconnect. There’s a huge disconnect between the brain and the body, and there could be many reasons for this. And not all dysphoria is because youre transgender. Like I said most kids who experience dysmorphia, 85 percent of those kids outgrow it and grow to be healthy, happy gay lesbians and adults.”
Statute determines that SB1138 would’ve applied to podiatrists, chiropractors, dentists, medical physicians and surgeons, naturopathic physicians, nurses, dispensing opticians, optometrists, osteopathic physicians and surgeons, pharmacists, physical therapists, psychologists, veterinarians, physician assistants, radiologic technologists, homeopathic physicians, behavioral health professionals, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, acupuncturists, athletic trainers, massage therapists, nursing care institution administrators, assisted living facilities managers, midwifes, and audiologists and speech pathologists.
It’s not just teachers influencing children on issues like sexuality and gender identity. Kristin Downing, a Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona troop leader in Tucson for over eight years, advocates heavily for gender identity rights for children. Downing has repeatedly helped fundraise and advocate for LGBTQ+ activist organizations with dedicated efforts to influence children such as the Trevor Project, Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (SAGA), and the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Prior to volunteering with the Girl Scouts, Downing served five years as a children’s ministry leader with the Church of the Apostles.
On Wednesday, Downing addressed the House Government and Elections Committee that they passed, HB2294, which would require state documents to list an individual’s sex as either male or female. Downing explained that her 15-year-old daughter announced that she was non-binary at 12 years old, and was celebrated and praised by their entire community, including coaches, medical care providers, friends, family, and Downing’s fellow Girl Scout troop leaders.
Downing asserted that her daughter feels unsupported when state paperwork requires her to list her biological gender. She claimed that the same wouldn’t be true of “more welcoming states” like California — a state that recently allowed a 26-year-old male convicted of molesting a 10-year-old girl to serve out his prison sentence in a girl’s juvenile detention facility because he claimed he was a transgender female. Downing said her daughter’s excitement over the prospect of getting her driver’s license was dampened by the fact that she would be required to list her biological gender, and not be able to identify legally as “nonbinary.”
Downing suggested allowing nonbinary adults and children to mark an “X” instead of acknowledging their gender as either male or female.
“It’s very difficult every time we have to start a new semester, or go to a new activity, we have to have a whole conversation ahead of time about my child’s pronouns,” said Downing.
On social media, Downing has expressed that those against transgenderism in any way are inciting harm. In a Facebook post, Downing characterized opposition to transgenderism as “violence.” She insisted that “kids should be allowed to be kids” by allowing them to use the bathroom or join the sports team of their choice, regardless of their biological sex.
“They shouldn’t have their existence debated. Nobody should. I’m so exhausted from this discussion that is happening on a national stage — the kids are watching, they hear it all, and you are harming them,” wrote Downing. “Trans and non-binary kids deserve the same rights and the same ability to be their damn selves as everyone else. So I guess that’s today’s post about the trans week of visibility. A bit of a rant, because this is all f*****g b******t and I’m so tired of trying to tiptoe around it and make room for people’s discomfort and feelings — let’s call it what it is — it’s bigotry and transphobia. It’s an act of violence against the trans community and our children. There shouldn’t be allowances made for that.”
Girl Scouts allows transgender girls to join troops on a case-by-case basis, so long as the boy “is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl.” They also sell rainbow LGBTQ pride “fun” patches to encourage girls to show their inclusivity and support for the LGBTQ community.
In 2019, Girl Scouts recognized a member as one of their National Gold Award Girl Scouts for that year, their highest award, because she started a now-defunct online magazine for children within the LGBTQ community. The publication, Gliterary Magazine, mainly showcased fanfiction-style works about children discussing their LGBTQ experiences.
Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) allows students to replace their legal birth names, called “deadnames,” on their IDs with their preferred names. The district folded to a push from a Gender & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) chapter at Cocopah Middle School: these clubs are part of a national network pushing a hyperfocus on a child’s sexuality while engaging them in social justice activism.
One GSA middle schooler revealed SUSD’s “deadname” policy during a testimonial video featured at the latest annual fundraising award ceremony hosted by the Phoenix chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN, pronounced “glisten”: an activist organization pushing for comprehensive LGBTQ+ sex education and other social justice activism), called the Sparkle Glitter GLSEN Remote Fundraiser and Respect Awards. Arizona Daily Independent first reported on the video. The mother of the anonymous student was also present; her daughter revealed that her GSA club pushed SUSD to create a “deadname” policy. The young students were instigated and aided by a teacher serving as their club sponsor, Laynee Langner, whose efforts helped them cinch the award “GSA of the Year.”
“One of my friends, who is trans, had their deadname on their ID and we thought that was kind of unfair because everyone was calling them by their deadname,” complained the middle schooler. “We took it to district board level and got it changed for the entire district so that the entire district’s students could have their proper names on the ID.”
Langner explained that the students do what they want, when they want in their GSA. She further explained that school policy forbade students from using chosen names on their ID for proper identification reasons.
“Every single student has to wear their ID all day every day, and these have their ‘deadnames,’ and they wanted that changed. The consensus is that we can’t because it’s their legal names, and we need to have their legal names on their IDs. And I came back and told the students and they were so upset,” said Langner. “I haven’t seen such joy on the face of a child when I told them they didn’t have to have their ‘deadname’ on their ID, that they could have their chosen name on their ID. It was just euphoria, and it brought – it’s just bringing tears to my eyes right now.”
“Deadnames” are the birth names that individuals reject upon transitioning genders. The lack of a space between “dead” and “names” wasn’t an oversight – that’s the spelling recognized by activists, and even Merriam Webster. Activists also use the verb “deadnaming” to refer to the accidental or purposeful practice of using an individual’s legal birth name.
GSAs originated with GLSEN in the late 1990s. GLSEN, established in 1990, not only promotes the sexualization of children, it intertwines the tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in its messaging. In guidelines for promoting inclusivity through a GSA, GLSEN wrote that having black representation in GSA leadership was necessary, and touched on topics like intersectionality, solidarity, centeredness, anti-racism, and white supremacy. It also insisted that GSA engage in social justice activism.
“If you’re discussing gender identity, talk about the gender binary as a white supremacist concept, and share information about some of the many African and Indigenous tribes that have embraced gender outside of the binary for decades,” read the post. “Have in-depth conversations in your GSA about intersectionality, solidarity, and anti-racism. These conversations are incredibly important, but you must also ensure that you do not place any undue burden on Black club members to share their trauma or to teach non-Black club members about racism. Provide space for Black people to process during or after these conversations, if needed, and make sure students know that they can step out at any point if they’re uncomfortable or triggered.”
Last year’s GSA Summit focused on a partnership with Black Lives Matter (BLM). The National Education Association (NEA) was also involved.
The club has caused deep divisions on campus in its short existence within SUSD, also mentioned during the Sparkle Glitter GLSEN Remote Fundraiser and Respect Awards testimonial video. The anonymous mother-daughter duo who revealed that the GSA sixth graders pushed SUSD to create a “deadname” policy described the divide their GSA caused at Cocopah Middle School. The mother said that their activism caused “a whole lot of problems” and said that some parents threatened to leave their middle school while others brought GSA cake to thank them.
“There was a very clear divide in the sixth graders. Those who participated were called ‘gay’ and those who didn’t participate were called ‘homophobic,’” said the middle schooler.
This is the same district formerly led by Jann-Michael Greenburg, the SUSD board member removed from presidency over his connection to a dossier on political and parental opponents created by his father.
One legislator, State Representative John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), promised to intervene with a bill to require parental consent before a student can join a school club involving gender, gender identity, and/or sexuality, as well as require schools to give parents detailed information about those types of clubs. The representative asserted that the backdoor approach to sneaking in curriculum through clubs must come to an end.
“School districts should be serving the needs of families and students and not replacing their own ideologies with the beliefs of the parents. My bill would close a loophole that school districts have found in the state law that requires parental approval before students receive sex education,” explained Kavanagh. “They’ve taken LGBTQ+ politics out of the classroom and into the clubs to circumvent the law. My bill will require that parents consent to their child joining any kind of gender sexuality, or gender identity club before the students can join and the school will also have to send parents information about the club’s bylaws, rules, goals, and purposes.”
Jill Dunican, a Desert Mountain High School parent, told AZ Free News that it took her almost four months before she could get someone at her child’s school to tell her what GSA was all about after her high schooler told her about a “sexuality club” on campus. Dunican said that she recognized the harm posed by GSA immediately after obtaining more information on it.
“At first, the principal confirmed there was a Genders Sexuality Alliance, which she framed as a mere support group. However, it took almost four months before I was put in touch with the teacher who leads the GSA who was able to provide details about the agenda and source of curriculum,” said Dunican. “After reviewing the GLSEN website, it became clear how divisive the content is. These lessons are not something I want my children exposed to. Essentially, they ask kids to label each other based on skin color, gender and sexual identities in an effort to stack rank themselves into victim groups to establish the oppressors and the oppressed. I just don’t see how that helps any child.”
“Another concerning finding,” said Dunican, “was GLSEN’s instruction that teachers encourage students to become social activists for the abolishment of police, including school resource officers. In fact, GLSEN even promotes policing as a white supremist concept. In our home, we support police and first responders and value their contributions to the Scottsdale community.”
Dunican expressed that she’s not against providing emotional support to LGBTQ+ individuals or any children. Rather, Dunican has concerns that the GSA programming is indoctrinating children with a victimhood mindset and sexualized content that does not seem age appropriate, all without parental consent.
“I’ve heard others attempt to frame any criticism of the GLSEN indoctrination as anti-LGBTQ+. That’s simply not the case. If there was a Gay-Straight Alliance that truly promoted alliances and provided support, and didn’t push a sexualized ideology, I would be all in. Every child should be treated with kindness and respect, regardless of who they are. What GLSEN is pushing on our community and children is completely inappropriate.”