The number of students in New Jersey public schools who openly identify as “non-binary” has gone up by a staggering 4,000% in the past four years, according to enrollment data published by the state’s Department of Education.
The report, which sets out the number of pre-kindergarten to kindergarten and 12th grade students, indicates that there were a total of 675 students who identified as gender-non-conforming in the 2022-2023 school year. In the year of 2019-2020, by comparison, that number was just 16. It’s also noted that of all the ‘non-binary’ students in New Jersey this year, 41 were still in elementary school.
Meanwhile, New Jersey’s democratic leaders have been arguing that schools should not be obligated to inform parents about their children’s sexual or gender identity.
Last month, a local school board passed a policy requiring staff to inform parents about anything that could have “a material impact on a student’s physical and/or mental health.” In response, however, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin sued the district, arguing that the policy “discriminates” against LGBTQ students and forces teachers to “out” students to their parents without the child’s consent. The state’s Governor Phil Murphy endorsed the lawsuit.
A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in April found that approximately one in four high-school students now consider themselves to be LGBTQ. At the same time, a Pew Research Center survey last year also found that some 5.1% of adults under 30 identified as trans or nonbinary. By comparison, a similar survey conducted by the Williams Institute in 2016 put that number at around 0.6% – a figure that already doubled estimates made ten years prior.
A number of American politicians have since raised the alarm over the issue, with Vivek Ramaswamy, a 2024 GOP presidential candidate, stating that the rising number of LGBTQ-identifying children and adults is “not visibility,” but “a social contagion of a mental health epidemic.”
Last week, the Daily Mail also reported that a group of teachers from the American Midwest had allegedly admitted during an online conference that they were intentionally keeping parents in the dark about their children’s sexual and gender identities despite a state-level ban on underage sex changes.