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Vermont School District Officials Claim ‘Detransition Awareness Day’ Would Harm ‘Trans’ Students

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Officials within a Vermont school district said that celebrating “Detransition Awareness Day” is hurtful and students who identify as “trasngender” and that it does not align with the districts “equity policy,” according to documents obtained by Parents Defending Education and shared exclusively with Townhall. 


The documents show that on Feb. 6, 2023, a parent emailed the school board and superintendent of Essex Westford School District requesting to add “Detransition Awareness Day” on March 12 to the school calendar. In addition, the parent requested that the book “Irreversible Damage” by Abigail Shrier be available to students “ “on an easel atop the shelves in the HS library.”

In response, the school district claimed that students who transition genders “in any direction” are recognized during Pride month, which occurs in June (via PDE):

People who transition genders in any direction are recognized on national coming out day and during Pride month. We would, of course, support someone transitioning in any direction. Centering transitioning gender as damaging does not align with the EWSD Equity Policy's requirement of being LGBTQIA+ affirming. This particular frame on gender transition -- moving from a trans status to a status of gender assigned at birth because of damage done -- is not something we would center. Instead, we would support any person transitioning for any reason through the current days and structures we recognize and be supportive of their transition by recognizing the gender to which they identify. Detransition can be hurtful to transgender people and youth. We want to meet their mental needs.


PDE noted that the district equity and inclusion administrator “crafted an initial response to the parent but added that they ‘should probably grab a quick consult’ from a local activist” (via PDE):

The response from the outside activist states that the “detransition awareness narrative and literature that this person offered as ‘evidence’ is not scientifically based nor is detransition as common as folks want others to believe it is.”

They continue: “folks (often TERFS) will claim that society, peer groups, and even doctors are forcing people to transition rather than experience the discomfort of puberty or that these people are following a fad” and that it is a “dangerous narrative that hurts efforts to get transgender people the affirming care they need.”

The activist also asserts that “often people who are talking about their detransition may be doing so after being subjected to conversion therapy or are being propped up by organizations that don’t support transgender people.”

Finally, they share that “if detransition awareness was truly a celebration of gender identity in all of its nuance we would view it in the same way the equity policy celebrates those marginalized voices who are often silenced.”

Shortly after, a parent requested that the district add “World Detrans Awareness Day” to the school calendar. The district struck this down, claiming it was due to the “framing and purpose” of the day. 


The district equity and inclusion administrator added that they “would not add a day to the calendar where the underlying narrative or content of the day points at others in harmful ways based on identity or for existing in the first place.”

In other email correspondences, a district administrator claimed that they “have great concerns” about Shrier’s book and that the book “actually goes against our equity policy and can cause harm.”

Erika Sanzi, director of outreach for Parents Defending Education, told Townhall: “"Schools should get out of the habit of celebrating all these silly days on the calendar but if they are going to do so, they can't choose sides. And if school officials think that detransition awareness violates their equity policy, they'd be wise to get rid of that policy because it's clearly not equitable or inclusive despite claims to the contrary."

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