Discussions about transgender identity are not a part of the school’s curriculum, and the teacher did not hold discussions about the books, Ashford said.
But experts say kindergarten is a good time to start talking to kids about gender identity.
As transgender and gender fluid people become increasingly visible in the media, children are exposed to the concepts earlier and have started feeling more comfortable publicly identifying at younger ages, said Becca Mui, the education manager at the LGBT education and advocacy group GLSEN.
A 2010 GLSEN survey found that 8% of elementary school students said they “do not conform to traditional gender norms.” Orange County parents recently sued a private school, alleging that the school prevented their 8-year-old from expressing her gender identity.
“Young people learn about these things whether we’re having conversations about them or not,” said Mui, who was an elementary school teacher for 10 years. “At kindergarten, they’re at a place where they understand developmentally the difference between boys and girls … and they also developmentally can think about identity versus expression.”