Non-Binary Student Population Up 366 Percent In Three Years In Massachusetts Public Schools

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More Massachusetts children are identifying as non-binary each school year.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s public school enrollment data used to break down gender into two categories:  male and female. However, since the start of the 2019-2020 school year, the state has also been tracking a third gender category:  non-binary.

While there are people who explicitly identify as non-binary, in this instance it’s an umbrella term. It encompasses anyone who identifies as a gender other than male and female. (The state does not use the term sex.)

The state’s enrollment data — based on student enrollment on October 1 of the school year — shows that identifying as non-binary, although rare, is becoming more common. The number of non-binary students in Massachusetts schools increased by 61.7 percent from the 2021-2022 school year to the 2022-2023 school year. And since the 2019-2020 school year, there has been a 366 percent increase in the number of non-binary public school students in the Commonwealth. 

The first school year the state reported the number of non-binary students in public schools (2019-2020), the figure was 345 out of the 948,828 kids in public school (0.0364 percent), according to the state. The following year, it became more common despite a decrease in public school enrollment. During the 2020-2021 school year, 478 of the 911,465 public school students identified as non-binary (0.0524 percent), the state said. And this school year (2021-2022), 994 of the 911,529 public schoolers identify as non-binary (0.109 percent), the state’s data shows.

This school year, the state saw its biggest jump in the number of students who identify as non-binary. In the 2022-2023 school year, 1,608 of the 913,735 students identify as non-binary (0.176 percent). 

That’s an increase of 614 non-binary students from the 2021-2022 school year to the 2022-2023 school year.

Massachusetts Family Institute communications director Mary Ellen Siegler told NewBostonPost that this sharp increase in the number of students identifying as non-binary does not surprise her.

“It is not surprising to learn there has been a rise in students identifying as non-binary in MA,” Siegler wrote in an email message. “Children are being confused about their gender through social media, books in school libraries, lessons in sex education classes, storybooks being read to elementary students, school programs and assemblies, social contagion, and more. The social contagion piece is significant.

“Add to this the fact that MA schools actively promote and affirm this psychological and social dysfunction and hide students’ gender identities from their parents, and it’s no wonder the numbers are on the rise,” she added. “When children are separated from their parents in this way they are more vulnerable to negative influence by peers and indoctrination by school officials.”

Although the federal government typically offers two gender options on forms, including the 2020 U.S. Census, schools aren’t the only place where Massachusetts offers more than two gender options. Since 2019, Bay Staters have been able to identify as non-binary on their driver’s licenses. In addition to “M” or “F” for male or female, those licenses now also have an “X” for non-binary.

In September 2021, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously voted to allow people to change their birth certificates so they can identify as non-binary on them instead of male and female. If the bill comes up again in a future session and becomes law, it would also allow minors to change the gender on their birth certificate, if they provide an affidavit from a parent or guardian. The Massachusetts House of Representatives has not voted on the measure yet.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Second Education could not be reached for comment Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.


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