During a county school board meeting in Arlington, Virginia, on Oct. 13, Carly Hughes, a teacher in Long Branch Elementary School’s Multi-Intervention Program for Students with Autism (MIPA), spoke against Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed public school policies for transgender-identifying students. Her reason? She believes her autistic students “may experience gender queerness more than other students.”
“I did my master’s study in queer inclusion in public schools,” Hughes told the school board. “My study told me that including trans students in all spaces is best practice. It also told me there are trans kids of every age — one I actually worked with in my student teaching. He was in the third grade.”
Youngkin’s model policies specify that taxpayer-funded public schools cannot facilitate a child’s so-called “transition” without written consent from a parent. Additionally, the guidance prescribes that bathroom and locker room access and sports participation should be based strictly on a student’s sex. These policies are a reversal of previous guidance from former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, which asked schools to hide a student’s “gender identity” from his or her parents.
Hughes herself identifies as a “queer” special education teacher. “I found that autistic students, the population I work with, may experience gender queerness more than other students,” she said. “These students … have helped me learn so much about myself as well.”
Arlington Public Schools responded to Youngkin’s model policies with a pledge to “support the rights of our transgender, non-binary, and gender fluid students.”
Hughes isn’t the only public school teacher who thinks it’s best to confuse autistic students by glorifying the transgender craze. Back in 2018, a whistleblowing teacher in the U.K. alleged that autistic students at her school were being persuaded they were trans. At one point, 17 students were in the “transition” process, according to a Daily Mail report.
The teacher said few of the 17 “trans” students were actually suffering from gender dysphoria. Rather they were “tricked” into believing they were the wrong sex as a way of coping with problems associated with their autism. Even older students at her school who had transitioned “groomed” younger autistic students to do the same.
The report followed another exclusive by the Daily Mail that year, which revealed that a third of the children referred to the U.K.’s National Health Service showed “moderate to severe autistic traits.” As such, 150 autistic teenagers were given puberty-blocker drugs.
The same phenomenon appears to be happening in America. Syed, a “straight-A” autistic student in Seattle, was checked into a hospital after dealing with severe mental health issues. Hospital staff told Syed’s parents that their son’s distress was due to the fact that he was really a girl, and said he should begin the medical transition process as soon as possible (in the state of Washington, minors can receive mental health and wrongly named “gender-affirming care” without parental consent by age 13). There are countless stories to this effect.
Children with autism do seem disproportionately represented among children who claim they are transgender, with multiple studies connecting Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to gender dysphoria. According to psychologist Kenneth Zucker, a child who believes he is transgender may be wrongly convincing himself due to his fixation — a common tendency associated with autism — on sex.
“It is possible that kids who have a tendency to get obsessed or fixated on something may latch on to gender,” Zucker told The Daily Wire. “Just because kids are saying something doesn’t necessarily mean you accept it, or that it’s true, or that it could be in the best interests of the child.”
Many children with autism experience feelings of social isolation, as well as a desire to feel special. Rollo Tomassi, an expert in intersexual dynamics, says the so-called transgender community fills this longing because “nothing is really required for belonging other than an active imagination and enough people to feel good about themselves for praising and reinforcing it in them.”
In that way, the Arlington school teacher is preying on this desire by her autistic students to feel special and included. Instead of helping her students transcend their disabilities, she’s encouraging them to embrace life-altering “gender-affirmation” that merely causes more confusion and, when acted on with medical interventions, infertility. It’s textbook child abuse.