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Massachusetts High School Biology Class Includes Instruction on Gender Identity

Richard Alan Hannon/The Advocate via AP

A Massachusetts high school biology teacher is teaching students about gender identity, gender expression and intersex individuals in a unit on genetics.

Some students at Needham High School have alleged that the teacher is "trying to show kids that wanting to change your sex is a feeling that is common throughout nature," according to nonprofit group Parents Defending Education.


The presentation shown to students includes a slide claiming that using language that "removes gendered terms to talk about bodies helps to ensure that people with diverse (a)sexualities, (a)genders, bodies, and (a)romantic orientations are included and respected."

Another slide, entitled "Human biological variation," says that the percentage of intersex people (2%) is comparable to that of people born with red hair.

"Only mentioning biological sex as male and female marginalises intersex people, who have been persistently discriminated against," the slide reads.

Screenshot via Parents Defending Education

The presentation also read that gender identity, gender expression and sex all have different definitions.

Sex, a presentation slide reads, is made up of things like genitals, chromosomes, hormones and body hair. The slide emphasizes, however, that sex is not gender.

The slide also describes gender identity as a "psychological sense of self" and who a person "knowns yourself to be, based on how much you align (or don't align) with what you understand to be the options for gender.

Meanwhile, gender expression is defined in the slide as the "ways you present gender," such as actions and clothes, and how a person's "outward-facing self" is interpreted by others based on "gender norms."

And attraction was explained in the slide as not even falling under a component of gender.

Screenshot via Parents Defending Education

The presentation then appeared to suggest that intersex is natural because a number of animals, including clownfish and the common reed frog, change sexes in the wild.


Parents Defending Education Director of Outreach Erika Sanzi slammed the move by the biology instructor to deliver "factually inaccurate" teachings on gender and debunked the claims of the presentation.

"Needham High School promised a science class and instead delivered a pseudoscience class," Sanzi said in a statement to Townhall. "The slides shared by the biology teacher are harmful and wrong because they are factually inaccurate, sow confusion and rely heavily on regressive sex stereotypes."

"It is playground bully logic to imply that a girl with more body hair is somehow less female than one with less hair," she continued. "The claim that nearly 2% of the population is intersex is preposterous and deliberately deceptive—the actual number is .018%, or about one out of 5,000. And perhaps most absurd is the implication that biological sex in humans is fluid, or can literally change, because it happens to be true of non-human species like clownfish and tree frogs."

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