University says it doesn’t ‘advocate for young children to be asked gender-related questions’
A faculty labor union put pressure on the University of Arizona this month to teach nursing students to ask 3-year-old patients about their “gender identity” after the Tucson-based school backtracked on the issue.
The university is facing criticism from both sides of the transgender debate after images of a UA College of Nursing presentation instructing students to ask “gender” questions to pediatric patients sparked outrage on X.
The university issued a statement Sept. 8 distancing itself from the debate, saying its nursing school “does not recommend or advocate for young children to be asked gender-related questions in wellness checks.”
“The slides in question were from a 40-minute session on complex issues nurse practitioners face in clinical practice for the purpose of encouraging discussion, analysis and evaluation,” the university stated.
“The College of Nursing faculty members share evidence-based information, but do not recommend any specific practice guidelines related to gender-related issues. Students are taught that providers need to choose their own approach to such issues,” it continued.
Last week, the United Campus Workers of Arizona criticized the university’s statement, saying it abandoned “science based recommendations” in response to threats, “hate calls” and “bullying tactics” from conservatives.
The union, which represents higher education faculty, staff and student workers, said the university’s statement also is “harmful” to transgender children.
“It contradicts medically accurate and evidence-based practices regarding gender-affirming care for young people, which support screening for gender dysphoria in children and adolescents,” the union wrote in a petition posted Sept. 15 on X.
The union also described Libs of TikTok, the social media account that exposed the presentation, as an “anti-trans hate group.”
Libs of TikTok published two slides from the presentation on X in early September. The slides instruct UA nursing students to start asking “gender” questions to pediatric patients “around age 3 during the well visit.”
One slide explains how to phrase the questions, saying nurses should ask their 3- to 13-year-old patients: “Some kids feel like a girl on the inside, some kids feel like a boy on the inside, and some kids feel like neither, both, or someone else. What about you? How do you feel on the inside? There’s no right or wrong answer.”
According to the university statement, the slides were presented to 31 doctor of nursing practice students during a three-day seminar, and the presentation was not given to undergraduate students.
“The sessions are designed to give students the opportunity to engage with professionals on a wide variety of topics they may encounter in the field,” the university stated.
Meanwhile, conservatives responded to the presentation by calling for an investigation into the public university. Some pointed to growing research, medical experts and investigations that indicate puberty-blocking drugs and sex-change surgeries often are more harmful than helpful to children suffering gender dysphoria.