Neopronouns are a “step towards a society where people can more fully express all parts of themselves.” Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group
By Adam Andrzejewski, OpenTheBooks CEO/Founder | Published at OpenTheBooks Substack
California governor Newsom’s administration is funneling millions of taxpayer dollars into a nonprofit promoting “neogenders” like foxgender and autismgender and facilitating secret gender transitions for students in his state and across the country.
It’s no longer only “he” and “she” or “man” and “woman” in the California public schools. And if Gavin Newsom gets his way, it’s coming to your school too.
The California Department of Public Health is in partnership with the California-based Gender Spectrum organization through a nine-year grant to “conduct rigorous evaluation” of Gender Spectrum’s “professional development programs."
The organization’s undergirding ideology is one of radical “liberation” from the “gender binary,” encouraging youth to invent their own “genders,” which parents are urged to “affirm.”
However, their “Resources” include a so-called “Gender Support Plan,” which explicitly excludes a child’s parents at the child’s request. Some initiatives start with kids in kindergarten.
In the hours before we published, today, Gender Spectrum’s website became no longer accessible and they didn’t respond to multiple comment requests.
Millions In Taxpayer Dollars
Gender Spectrum will collect $2,340,000 from the California Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity for the California Reducing Disparities Project. Here’s how the payments break down:
Started in the Jerry Brown era when Newsom was lieutenant governor, the grant originally ran from 2017-2022. However, in March 2022, the Newsom administration more than doubled the annual funding and gave Gender Spectrum an extension until June 2026. In 2022 the California Department of Health gave the organization $355,260 as a part of these payments, up from $160,958 in 2021.
The grant gives financial and technical assistance to two Gender Spectrum professional development programs: The Foundations of Gender Inclusive Schools Training and The Gender Spectrum Inclusive Schools Network. The programs impart, among other items “concrete strategies for applying the lens of gender diversity to school practices.”
The plan is to continue to bring these programs to more schools.
Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found state payments to Gender Spectrum after we broke open the California state checkbook for the first time in history last year.
How To Use Neopronouns
Our report uses web resources found on Gender Spectrum’s website, and direct quotes and slides from the Gender Spectrum Family Conference 2022, which featured the organization’s executives as presenters and facilitators.
One presentation covered the intricacies of “neoidentities.”
Neogenders, or neoidentities, are words other than “man” and “woman” which individuals use to describe their gender. Neogenders may “describe gender as a personal, aesthetic, synesthetic, or head-space oriented experience.” A neogender may have a corresponding neopronoun other than “he” and “her.”
For example, someone could identify as “foxgender” and use the “foxself” pronoun. This does not necessarily mean the person believes he or she is a fox, but rather the person identifies with “aspects of a fox, whether that’s their appearance, their personality, or how they’re viewed in society.”
If one were to use the foxself pronouns, one could say “Fox said fox would rather do it foxself.” Instead of “She said she would rather do it herself.”
There are an unlimited number of genders one can have, so if an adult does not understand a child’s chosen neogender right away, that is understandable. In fact, youth don’t even have to properly understand their own neogenders, because they are on a “gender journey” that will likely change over time.
Keeping It Secret – Parents Don’t Need To Know
Gender Spectrum’s mission appears to drive a wedge between children and their parents.
Parents are told they should unreservedly “affirm” their child’s neogender. And if parents aren’t affirming, they can expect to be cut out of this aspect of their child’s social and psychological development entirely.
As Naomi Cruz, Manager of Family and Educational Programming at Gender Spectrum, says:
“If parents are not supportive of neogender identities and the youth is feeling really torn because of that, I definitely recommend supporting that youth in the ways that you can, so definitely making sure to use this youth’s pronouns when it's safe to. The youth may request, obviously, ‘don’t use these pronouns around my parents,’ but when you two are alone or in spaces where their parents are not there, or the youth has indicated that it’s safe, making sure to use those neopronouns or making sure to refer to them in ways that make them feel gender affirmed.”
In other words, as soon as parents leave the room, a teacher or other adult can start referring to their child as “fox,” “rock,” “moon,” or whatever else the child fancies. It’s a little secret they don’t have to share with parents.
With One Exception
If a child chooses a gender that encompasses a racial, ethnic, religious, or disability group they are not a part of, the parent must direct the child to a different neogender. For example, only autistic people are allowed to use “autigender” or “autismgender.” Cruz provides a script for parents to correct their children in these cases:
“Yes, I understand that this term means something to you, but perhaps we can create another term or another pronoun that also has a meaning to you, but isn’t specific to a certain racial, ethnic, or other group where there are closed identities and pronouns.”
Cruz did not mention if the parent should redirect the child back to its own sex (or species), but we assume this action would not be considered “affirming.”
Gender Support Plans
Gender Support Plans are essentially tools to help administrators facilitate the social transition of a child’s gender while at school.
Gender Spectrum’s six-page document covers which bathrooms, locker rooms and facilities the student will be using, which name they will go by, and the "go-to adults” on campus.
Parental knowledge of their child’s gender plan is entirely up to the child, whether or not parents would be supportive of such a transition.
The plan even includes strategies for keeping parents in the dark about their child’s “gender identity.” Such plans have been found in schools across the country.
During the Gender Spectrum Family Conference in October 2022, Carla Pena, Director of Training, stated that this is a part of the training administrators and educators receive through Gender Spectrum’s programs:
“We also give this training to school educators and administrators who are working with trans and gender expansive kids, and it’s not always the case that caregivers are supportive of their child’s gender, their gender journey, in that case, if parents are not supportive or if the child is not out, that’s not necessarily someone who will be a part of the gender support team.”
Secret school gender transitions have been an organizational priority for a long time. As reported in the Washington Examiner, in 2015 Gender Spectrum co-authored a report titled "Schools in Transition,” which was also sponsored by the National Education Association, one of America’s biggest teachers' unions.
What seemed like a radical notion then has effectively permeated schools nationwide, boosted by partnerships at the state and national level.
A Federal Partnership Too
The state of California isn’t the only institution boosting the Gender Spectrum’s work; the organization consulted on the National Sex Education Standards, cited by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for use in schools nationwide.
The standards were published in 2021 and included goals like:
By 2nd grade define gender identity
By 5th grade children should be able to describe the role of puberty blockers on those who identify as transgender. Also, fifth graders should differentiate between sexual orientation and gender identity and explain that gender expression and gender identity exist along a spectrum
By 8th grade define anal sex and describe “pregnancy options” including abortion.
The CDC’s website says of this guidance:
"The standards are designed to help schools focus on what is most essential for students to learn by the end of a grade level or grade span and can be used to create lessons and curricula with aligned learning objectives."
Gender Spectrum’s Kim Westheimer was listed as one of the consultants on the National Sex Education Standards. Westheimer also gave a talk at the 2022 Family Conference, stating that exposing children to different ideas of gender encourages them to take on different gender identities:
“Things like social media and YouTube are giving young people more permission to explore their identity and maybe to try on new identities and decide if those are right for them or not. I would say that’s a good thing, not a bad thing, and that kids should be supported in that.”
The CDC has recommended Gender Spectrum resources in at least three other agency documents or webpages: LGBTQ Inclusivity In Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool; Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships; Creating Safe Schools for LGBTQ Youth.
Gender Spectrum has not received federal contract or grant funding, but has received $297,111 in federal small business Covid-19 loans. Their first Paycheck Protection Program $153,110 loan in April 2020 was forgiven. On February 26, 2021, the organization took a $145,833 PPP loan and the current status is undetermined.
The organization has partnered with other national groups like National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National PTA, the American School Counselors Association, and the School Superintendents Association.
Gender Spectrum openly brags about the organization’s national, and even international impact, reaching youth from Switzerland to Singapore.
The half a million dollars in funding from the state of California between 2021 and 2022 (and $2,340,000 by 2026) will go a long way with Gender Spectrum. Indeed, within the California Department of Public Health’s Request for Proposals for the grant Gender Spectrum won is a stipulation for the organization to “increas[e] its current project scale to allow for effective evaluation.”
Along with evaluating the program for supposed “effectiveness” the CDPH stated:
“secondary program goals include the development of infrastructure and business practices to expand and improve existing efforts in order to provide quality mental health services to more at-need community members.”
If California school districts push back, then the California Attorney General sues.
On August 28 California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a lawsuit against the Chino Valley Unified School District in California to halt the district’s mandatory gender identity disclosure policy. The policy would inform parents if a child asks to use a different name or pronoun in school, a policy which Bonta says is “wrongfully and unconstitutionally discriminating against and violating the privacy rights of LGBTQ students.”
Gavin Newsom stated in one of his wife’s documentaries (also shown in schools),
“At the end of the day a budget is a set of values. Budget reflects your values.”
California voters and taxpayers should consider how this spending reflects their own values and parents nationwide should be alert to how Newsom’s values are being exported to their children’s schools.
NOTE: We reached out for comment, context, and background to Gender Spectrum, the California Department of Public Health, and Gov. Newsom’s office. None responded by publication. If they do respond, we’ll do our best to update the piece in real time.