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Gov. Abbott eyeing discussions of gender identity in Texas schools for next legislative session

"Schools must get back to fundamentals & stop pushing woke agendas," Abbott said in the tweet. "We will pass laws to get it done."
Credit: AP
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

DALLAS — It seems discussion surrounding gender identity in schools will be a topic of conversation in the upcoming legislative session after Texas governor Greg Abbott alluded to support for stopping what he called “indoctrination.”

Gov. Abbott tweeted the link to a Fox News article on Sunday, which detailed a Fort Worth teacher who reportedly came out to students and staff as nonbinary and discussed it with the middle schoolers. 

Abbott said in the tweet that "we will put a stop to this nonsense in the upcoming legislative session."

"Schools must get back to fundamentals & stop pushing woke agendas," Abbott continued in his tweet. "We will pass laws to get it done."

The Fox News article referenced in Abbott's tweet identified the Texas educator as Kelsey McCracken, a math teacher at W.A. Meacham Middle School within Fort Worth ISD.

McCracken told students to use the word "Mx." instead of "Ms." and came out to them as nonbinary, Fox News reported. McCracken explained that using the term ‘Mx.’ (pronounced ‘mix’) "incorporates the ‘Mi’ in ‘miss’ and the ‘Mi’ in ‘mister,’ so its 'Mx.'"

Nonbinary refers to a person who does not exclusively identify as male or female, or identifies as somewhere in between male and female. People who identify as nonbinary sometimes use they/them pronouns, and some, but not all, also identify as transgender, which refers to someone who identifies as a different gender than that assigned at birth. 

Abbott's tweet signifies a growing trend of Republican lawmakers alluding to proposed legislation that would target LGBTQ people, and discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation within schools. 

Gender identity and sexual orientation within Texas schools have already begun to take course locally in North Texas. In November, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) condemned several North Texas school districts' controversial policies in complaints filed with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. The complaints were filed in response to policies implemented at both Keller and Frisco Independent School Districts. 

Trustees at Frisco ISD unanimously approved a policy that would require students to use bathrooms corresponding to their biological sex. Board members voted to approve the policy 7-0 during its Nov. 14 meeting. The policy, however, explicitly states that it would not prohibit the district from making accommodations for students or parents upon request.

Keller ISD banned books that mentioned gender fluidity in order to "protect children from sexually explicit age-inappropriate material." The board passed the measure during its Nov. 14 meeting, 4-2.

The 88th Legislature's regular session runs from Jan. 10 to May 29, 2023. Earlier this month, the Texas Tribune broke down the key topics and bills being filed for the new legislative session beginning in January. You can look at that breakdown here.

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