This September sees the roll out of gender identity theory throughout the Irish education system at an unprecedented level. The theory, which is being presented as fact, is based on a scientifically unfalsifiable subjective sense of self that has become popularized in recent years. Colette Colfer refers to the incorporation of this theory in Irish schools as a type of ‘soft colonization’.
Understanding where we are at in Ireland today in relation to gender identity in the Irish curriculum involves trawling back through recent decades to try to uncover its roots.
Transgender concerns became part of gay and lesbian activism in the United States in the early to mid 1990s and, since then, many lesbian and gay organisations around the world, including in Ireland, have expanded their acronyms to include ‘T’ for transgender issues. New organisations dedicated exclusively to gender identity issues often have strong links to these older organisations. Government funding to these groups in Ireland has been generous.
The linking together of sexual orientation with gender identity has enormous implications in education where the push to alleviate challenges faced by homosexual and gender-distressed students has included a drive to include LGBT topics in the curriculum. Through all levels of the Irish education system, it is now being taught that everyone has such a thing as a ‘gender identity’ and, more crucially, that the best way to deal with students who have a gender identity that is incongruent with their biological sex is to affirm this identity.
The incorporation of gender identity theory in the Irish education system is also linked to two national government strategies that have had profound implications for all sectors of Irish society. Although these strategies focus on ‘inclusion’, they exclude consideration of those who do not subscribe to gender ideology including many desisters and detransitioners and they stifle open conversations that are necessary for the functioning of a healthy democracy.
To read in more detail about the roots of gender ideology in Irish schools, see this article by Colette Colfer on the Genspect website.