The new Family Life Education Curriculum for eighth, ninth and 10th graders removes “biological gender” and replaces it with “sex assigned at the birth.” The new curriculum also says gender identity “includes transgender” and sexual orientation “includes heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual.”
The curriculum for ninth graders notes the use of PrEP “as a means of prevention” of HIV. It also makes the district’s dress code more gender neutral.
Thursday’s vote took place after supporters and opponents of the new curriculum testified for several hours.
Robert Rigby, Jr., president of FCPS Pride, a group that represents LGBT employees of the Fairfax County School District, welcomed the vote.
“FCPS Pride celebrates the action of the Fairfax County School Board to be more inclusive of transgender students and family members and to save lives,” he told the Washington Blade.
Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish also praised the board.
“We are pleased to see the school board take this proactive step in updating the curriculum to be more inclusive of transgender and gender nonconforming students,” he told the Blade in a statement. “These updates will create a safer learning environment for LGBT and questioning youth and keep the Family Life teachings in line with leading medical experts.”
Northern Virginia Pride, GLSEN’s Northern Virginia Chapter and the Transgender Education Association of Greater Washington are among the organizations that support the new curriculum. The Fairfax County Republican Committee and the Catholic Diocese of Arlington opposed it.
“It is sad to see the Fairfax County Public Schools board vote to change the Family Life Education Curriculum,” said the Catholic Diocese of Arlington in a tweet. “This is after receiving emails running 941-192 AGAINST the change from 5/10 to 6/8!”
It is sad to see the Fairfax County Public Schools board vote to change the Family Life Education Curriculum. This is after receiving emails running 941-192 AGAINST the change from 5/10 to 6/8! https://t.co/LgAyUrRWmo
— Diocese of Arlington (@arlingtonchurch) June 15, 2018
The new curriculum is slated to go into effect in the upcoming school year.
The school board added sexual orientation and gender identity to the district’s nondiscrimination policy in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The Virginia Supreme Court in 2017 dismissed a lawsuit against the policy.