(LifeSiteNews) — Regular readers of this column will know that on the whole I am not optimistic about the ability of whistleblowers, independent journalists, and advocates to successfully combat gender ideology in the public school system on either side of the Atlantic. The transgender movement has captured the institutions, and although there has been some encouraging pushback in the UK and elsewhere, the Overton Window has moved backward inches at most. As Matt Walsh noted after the release of his documentary What is a Woman?, the most disturbing discovery he made was the extent to which young people had accepted the basic premises of gender ideology.
With that gloomy proviso aside, I will note that there has been a number of encouraging stories of late. The most recent was just reported by Patrick O’Donoghue in the Sunday Times, who notes that in response to parental feedback (gasp!) the idea of a “gender spectrum” will be removed from the Irish school curriculum:
A lesson plan that would teach junior pupils that gender identity is “experienced along a spectrum” has been dropped after consultation with the public.
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) agreed to change a “learning outcome” in a draft for a new curriculum for social, personal and health education (SPHE), according to papers seen by The Sunday Times.
The original proposal aimed to help students “appreciate that sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are core parts of human identity and that each is experienced along a spectrum”.
The final specification for the curriculum, which is yet to be published, references a wider range of characteristics as determinants of a pupil’s identity. It will no longer teach that gender identity and expression are on a spectrum.
The NCCA conducted the consultation “on the draft junior cycle SPHE curriculum through 10 focus groups in five schools with 56 pupils and 22 teachers” and concluded that “the most common cause of concern related to references to gender identities within the draft specification. A number of parents who responded to the survey … pointed out that gender identity is a highly contested and sensitive topic.” This response prompted the NCCA to cut a portion of the material parents objected to from the new curriculum.
At the Irish media outlet Gript (one of the only media outlets consistently alerting parents to what was going on), John McGuirk warned that while positive, this change will not prevent educators from teaching gender ideology regardless. “There certainly does not seem to be an active prohibition on teachers telling students that their gender is a choice – all that is happening is that teaching this will no longer be a requirement of the curriculum,” McGuirk noted. “If you are someone who thinks, for example, that there are certain schools with activist teachers who see their job as less to educate your child than indoctrinate them, then I would suggest that your sighs of relief here be short lived, and not a substitute for vigilance.”
McGuirk’s conclusion echoes my concern about any successful pushback against the LGBT agenda of Western governments: “Just because a government is, for once, backing away from doing active harm, do not mistake that for the government doing good. This particular issue is not going away.” This victory is, however, a reminder that vigilance and pushback can pay off in tangible ways and that harm reduction is a real possibility. It is also a reminder to Canadians that in virtually every other country where gender ideology is prevalent, there is an actual debate unfolding in which politicians are very frequently forced to listen to the concerns of the public. But as Jonathan Kay noted on Twitter in response to the news: “Looks like Canada will be the last domino to fall.” That, of course, depends on what he means by “fall.”