A Colorado sixth-grader was told to consider declaring herself transgender while attending what she thought was an after-school art club meeting last year, according to her mother and a parents’ rights organization.
The girl, who was new to Wellington Middle School in Fort Collins, was asked to join the after-school club in May of 2021 by her art teacher, according to her mother, Erin Lee. The invitation came from the girl’s home room and art teacher, according to Lee and Parents Defending Education, which is advocating for her family.
“We’re new to town; we’re new to the school, it’s the height of COVID protocols [and] our daughter hasn’t made a single connection to students her age,” Lee told Jon Caldara of the YouTube channel IITV in a recent interview. “She’s shy, artistic, introverted. Her art teacher invites her to stay one day for art club after school. Seems harmless, we agreed to it.”
The after-school gathering turned out to be for the Gender and Sexuality Awareness Art Club, according to Lee, who said her daughter was then pressured to consider that she might be transgender.
The teacher had invited Kimberly Chambers, director of SPLASH Youth of Northern Colorado, to meet the students. SPLASH is an acronym for Supporting Pride Learning and Social Happenings.
“This person had no qualifications to be talking to kids about gender and sexuality,” Lee said. “[She] is just a person who runs a non-profit for queer kids. She’s also active in our boys and girls’ club with elementary-age students and our library system and our health department board.”
Lee said there was no art instruction, and that Chambers told the students they were not to discuss what occurred in the meeting and that “parents aren’t safe, but I am.” But Lee said her daughter came home upset and relayed what had happened.
“She told my daughter if she’s not 100% comfortable in her female body that she’s transgender,” Lee said. “And my daughter adopted that label; she gave her the flag, plus stickers, plus bracelets, plus extra to give friends. She got queer flags, stickers, bracelets plus extra to give friends.”
Lee said Chambers also asked her daughter who she was “sexually attracted to” and showed them a “gender bread” person, a gimmick used by pro-trans groups to teach children their theories on biological sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. They also allegedly discussed Colorado House Bill 19-1120, which allows 12-year-olds to seek psychotherapy without parent knowledge or consent.
Lee said she reached out to Chambers using the contact information the woman had given her daughter.
“The woman, when I contacted her, told me these were the obligatory stickers and that kids love to collect everywhere they go,” Lee said. “She knew what she was doing when she handed them out.”
Parents Defending Education identified Chambers as an employee of the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment and a substitute teacher. The group accused SPLASH of targeting children with woke gender ideology.
“The arm of the SPLASH organization that targets children between the ages of 5-11 is called SKITTLES,” the group said in a statement.
Lee said she complained to both the school principal and the police, but to no avail. She said the principal told her the meeting was held in secret to “provide a safe space for children,” and the police said nothing criminal occurred, according to Lee.
“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Lee, who pulled her daughter out of the school and enrolled her in a Christian school. “My innocent little girl went to school like any regular Tuesday, in sixth grade. She just wanted to meet some people at art club. And she came home distraught.”