Chicago Children’s Hospital Partners with Local School Districts to Push Radical Gender Ideology

Chicago’s largest children’s hospital is working with local government school districts to provide training materials that promote radical gender theory and LGBTQ activism.

Education researcher and author Christopher Rufo reported at the New York Post Monday he obtained documents from a whistleblower that show Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has provided school administrators throughout the Chicago area with gender theory and LGBTQ activist materials to be distributed to teachers, administrators, and staff for ongoing employee training programs.

Lurie Children’s Hospital runs a “Gender Development Program” that its website states is “aimed at supporting the physical, mental and social health of patients and their families as youth progress through gender identity development.”

“New patients may begin care with us up to age 22,” the gender program says. “Patients may continue services in our programs until their 25th birthday.”

Rufo noted the primary training document, titled “Beyond Binary: Gender in Schools,” “follows the basic narrative of academic queer theory.”

“White, Western society has created an oppressive gender binary, falsely dividing the world into the categories of man and woman, that has results in ‘transphobia,’ ‘cissexism,’ and ‘systemic discrimination’ against racial and sexual minorities,” he describes the theory.

Jennifer Leininger, M.Ed., who advertises that she uses “she/her” as pronouns, is named as the primary author of the training document.

“She has over ten years of experience in the nonprofit field focusing on educational program development and implementation for over 10 years [sic],” Leininger’s bio states. “In September 2019 Jennifer was appointed to the Illinois Affirming and Inclusive School Task Force by Governor JB Pritzker which produced robust policy guidelines for schools across the state.”

The purpose of the training document is “to provide attendees with a basic understanding of gender diversity within a school framework.”

The Lurie training program provides definitions for radical gender theory’s “key” concepts:


  • Reproductive anatomy or external and internal genitalia
  • Determines birth-assigned male or female sex

Gender Identity

  • A person’s internal, deeply-felt sense of being either male, female, something other, or in between (most have a strong sense between 4-6).

Gender Expression

  • An individual’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions that are perceived as masculine or feminine (most begin expressing around ages 2-3)

The hospital’s document cites as some of its sources of information multiple LGBTQ activist organizations, including Gender Spectrum, National Center for Transgender Equality, GLSEN, and Human Rights Campaign’s “Welcoming Schools.”

According to Rufo, in at least two of the Chicago-area school districts, the Lurie Children’s Hospital activists:

… advised teachers to offer a series of sexually explicit resources to children as young as 11. At the end of the “Beyond Binary” presentation circulated to teachers in districts 75 and 120, the hospital recommended a “Binder Exchange Program” to assist teenage girls in binding their breasts, a “kid friendly website for gender affirming gear,” which sells items such as artificial penis “packers” and female-to-male “trans masc pump[s],” and an “LGBTQ friendly sex shop for teens” that sells a range of dildos, vibrators, harnesses, “anal toys,” “trans-friendly toys” and “kink & BDSM” equipment.

“The links include graphic descriptions of sadomasochism, bondage, pornography and transgressive sex,” Rufo wrote.

“There is no ONE right way to be transgender,” the training document also states, and includes the terms “agender,” “two-spirit,” “multi-gender,” “gender fluid,” and “genderqueer” under the “trans umbrella.”

Lurie Children’s Hospital’s document assumes schools are not providing a “safe and supportive environment” for children with gender dysphoria, and, like many LGBTQ activist organizations, urges conforming to its principles in order to avoid depression and suicide in gender-dysphoric children.

“Students that are not supported are at increased risk of: depressive symptoms, low life satisfaction, self-harm, isolation, posttraumatic stress, incarceration, homelessness, and suicidality,” the document states.

Like blacks in Critical Race Theory, gender-dysphoric individuals are portrayed as perennial victims in radical gender theory.

“Like homophobia, racism and sexism, transphobia plays out in discriminatory acts directed toward a relatively powerless minority,” Lurie Children’s Hospital teaches public school teachers, who will likely bring this concept into their classrooms of young children.

“Because gender is one of the most firmly entrenched norms in western society, reactions to those who do not conform to the traditional female/male binary is often extremely severe,” Lurie’s activists teach.

The hospital states it uses an “affirming approach” to gender transition, during which a young child who claims to be uncomfortable with his or her biological sex goes through “social, medical, and legal” transition.

Lurie teaches that:

  • Gender variations are not disorders
  • Gender may be fluid (not always binary)

The children’s hospital urges schools to “avoid gender segregation,” “respect preferred name and gender pronoun,” and “implement inclusive dress code.”

Gender identity is expected to be included in nondiscriminatory policies, Lurie states.

Those who are comfortable with their biological sex are also urged to be a “good ally” to gender-dysphoric children by taking them “seriously” and “respect preferred name/pronouns.”

“Beyond the lurid nature of some of the content, these documents reveal a profoundly disturbing collusion between radical gender activists in the medical system and the public-school bureaucracy,” Rufo wrote. “They have laundered the promotion of queer theory, synthetic sexual identities and child sex toys under the guise of ‘health and education,’ devoting significant resources toward building what policy analyst Leor Sapir has called ‘a school-to-clinic pipeline.’”

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago” by Jaysin Trevino. CC BY 2.0.




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