Re: the September 7 article "'Family Life' curriculum still needs work to fully benefit TUSD students."
TUSD School Board member Mark Stegeman’s op-ed on the proposed Family Life Curriculum demonstrates appalling ignorance. He refers to sexual orientation as a “preference,” though scientific consensus has concluded sexual orientation is not a choice. Stegeman suggests that gender identity and expression are “self-identified sexual preferences.” He is wrong. The term “gender identity” refers to a person’s internal sense of their own gender, and “gender expression” refers to the appearance (clothing, hairstyle, etc.), mannerisms (crossing legs), and interests (dolls or cars) a person manifests that are associated with gender in a particular cultural context, specifically with the categories of femininity or masculinity. Neither gender identity nor gender expression refers to an individual’s sexual or romantic attraction (which is his/her/their sexual orientation). Finally, Stegeman suggests that only those who are transgendered need to be educated regarding gender identity and expression. His blatant ignorance and offensive terminology regarding these subjects demonstrate the need for basic sex education to be offered to everyone.
Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.