Public schools in Washington state and Oregon are teaching topics related to gender identity to children as young as 5.

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), which oversees K-12 education in the state, defines "gender" as "a social construct based on emotional, behavioral and cultural characteristics attached to a person’s assigned biological sex." The OSPI set health education standards for all public schools in 2016, requiring children in kindergarten and first grade to learn that "there are many ways to express gender," while children in second and third grade are taught that "there is a range of gender roles and expression."

Tustin Ranch Elementary School

Students listen to their teacher during their first day of transitional kindergarten class at Tustin Ranch Elementary School in Tustin, California, on Aug. 11, 2021. (Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

The standards sparked a backlash last month after first-graders in the Edmonds School District were reportedly given materials about gender pronouns that taught gender can be broken down into three categories: a "girl," a "boy," and "neither or both." The district defended the assignment, saying it "is required to teach state standards."

Meanwhile, in Oregon, the state board of education adopted health education standards, also in 2016, requiring kindergartners and first-graders to "recognize that there are many ways to express gender" and to "provide examples of how friends and family influence how people think they should act on the basis of their gender."

Second-graders in Oregon are being taught to "recognize differences and similarities of how individuals identify regarding gender" and how to "communicate respectfully with and about people of all gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientations."

Third-graders in the state are expected to be able to "define sexual orientation," as well as "recognize differences and similarities of how individuals identify regarding gender or sexual orientation."

L.G.B.T. activists

LGBTQ activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, Oct. 24, 2018. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Last month, the group Oregon Moms Union protested against administrators in the North Clackamas School District, claiming fifth-grade children were given a worksheet for "The Genderbread Person" asking them to describe their gender identity and sexual orientation, Newsweek reported March 31. The district later defended the assignment.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly highlighted "The Genderbread Person" while calling to eliminate what he describes as "woke indoctrination" of young children. The Republican governor signed into law last month a parental rights bill that bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" in kindergarten through third grade. The law has been dubbed the "Don’t Say Gay" bill by Democrats who misleadingly claim it bans any discussion pertaining to being gay in Florida schools. 

Members and supporters of the LGBTQ community attend the "Say Gay Anyway" rally in Miami Beach, Florida on March 13, 2022. - Florida's state senate on March 8 passed a controversial bill banning lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools, a step that critics complain will hurt the LGBTQ community. Opposition Democrats and LGBTQ rights activists have lobbied against what they call the "Don't Say Gay" law, which will affect kids in kindergarten through third grade, when they are eight or nine years old. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Members and supporters of the LGBTQ community attend the "Say Gay Anyway" rally in Miami Beach, Florida on March 13, 2022. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images))

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, blasted the law after DeSantis’ signing, saying that "in Oregon, we say gay."

"I'm horrified and outraged by the anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation that was just signed in Florida, making schools a less safe space for LGBTQIA+ kids," Brown tweeted March 28. "Oregon will always be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place — no matter one’s sexual orientation or identity."


Proposed legislation similar to the Florida law has since cropped up in Alabama, Ohio, Louisiana, Tennessee and other states.