Transgender Issues: Who Are the Bullies?
Some believe transgender people’s quest for special rights has gotten out of hand. Among them is feminist Germaine Greer, who has simply had enough. The author of The Female Eunuch, a book that encouraged the feminist movement, is supportive of gay rights but has drawn a line at those who now expect the public to grant transgender people special rights and privileges.
Greer was particularly upset when a major American magazine recently gave former Bruce, now Caitlyn, Jenner their Woman of the Year Award. She said, “I think misogyny plays a really big part in all of this. That a man who goes to these lengths to become a woman will be a better woman than someone who is just born a woman.”
Transgender activists are upset with Ms. Greer. Those even more radically progressive than her protested her right to free speech and signed a Change.org petition, shaming and scolding her for her viewpoint. They demanded that her impending honorary degree at Cardiff University be denied, and it was. (BBC, 10-25-15)
Rural Missouri Acquiesces
When administrators at Hillsboro High School, located about an hour from St. Louis, Missouri, acquiesced to the demands of a male transgender 17-year-old, over 150 students walked out of class in protest. The school chose to allow a person with male genitalia to share a locker room and bathrooms with female high school students. But the students who protested believe that young women at the school should not lose their privacy from a biological male and that the transgender person should change and shower in a separate area from females and use private bathroom facilities.
The school is calling Noah, a biologically male student who wears a long brown wig, his chosen name of “Lila,” although there’s been no change on the transgender student’s permanent record.
The school initially offered “Lila” a unisex bathroom that is large enough to serve as a dressing room. Lila wasn’t satisfied with separate facilities, private from both males and females, and insisted on being allowed to change in the female locker room. Lila claims separate facilities make “her” feel “different.”
The student walkout was Monday, August 31, following a School Board meeting the previous Thursday “that drew a large crowd — parents concerned that Lila is getting special rights at the expense of other students.”
After the student walkout was reported by the news media, a campaign to counter student objections was launched. Transgender activists started a Facebook page and social media campaign, using the title and hashtag “LiftingUpLila.” According to the Missouri Gay-Straight Alliance Network, headquartered in St. Louis, “#LiftingUpLila means:
“Pushing against transphobia; giving time, money, and effort to organizations and movements that center trans people and young people; understanding that even though we live in a transphobic system now it doesn’t always have to be that way; and believing we can change it.”(TransgenderLawCenter.org, 9-4-15)
The next step for activists was to hold a counter protest at the Hillsboro City Park, which a few dozen protesters attended, including people from outside of the Hillsboro community. Gay-Straight Alliance activists who started the “Lifting Up Lila” Facebook page, invited outsiders, including those from St. Louis, to join the protest.
Lila has now appeared on “The View” TV show. A lawsuit is expected to be filed because of the perceived injustices this transgender individual allegedly faced.
This is a complicated story to unravel because Noah/Lila last year identified as a gay male, and there are reports that before that he/she was dating a girl. Further developments include the unexplained resignations of three school board members. (KMOX.com, 9-10-15) Lila has recently decided to drop gym class.
Civil Rights Hammer Falls on Illinois School
The U.S. Department of Education refuses to allow Township High School District 211, the largest high school district in Illinois, to determine its own transgender policy. A transgender student at one district high school, located about an hour from downtown Chicago, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. The student was assisted by the American Civil Liberties Union. The DOE sided with the student and threatened to take action against the Illinois school district.
When making its transgender policy, the school district believed that privacy curtains were the best way to protect all involved, including girls who want privacy and a transgender student who insisted on full access to the girls’ locker room. The curtains would protect the girls from exposure to the male genitalia of the transgender student, as well as provide privacy for the transgender student. But the transgender male, who feels he is a female, demanded full access to the female locker room. As in other cases, the transgender student claimed that separate facilities or curtain screens make the student feel “different” from the other females.
Although faced with sanctions from the federal government, the Illinois school district hopes to avoid allowing unrestricted access to its locker rooms, although that’s what the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) directed.
The High School District 211 Superintendent wrote in an October newsletter to parents:
“The goal of the District in this matter is to protect the privacy rights of all students when changing clothes or showering before or after physical education and after-school activities, while also providing reasonable accommodations to meet the unique needs of individual students. Our responsibility is to provide an environment conducive to learning for all its 12,000+ students.”
District 211 has supported — and continues to support — transgender students and their families while always balancing the rights and concerns of all students we serve.
The Superintendent warns that “litigation and enforcement action, including the potential loss of federal education funds, may be imposed by the OCR.” But he says, “Our position is the OCR’s unilateral mandate does not consider the best interests of all District 211 students and families.”
The Heritage Foundation Daily Signal (10-23-15) points out: “Didn’t it also used to be the case that if a school district allowed a person with male anatomy to undress in front of a bunch of girls it would be considered unlawful sexual harassment?” They continue, “What about common sense? Where is the role for the local authorities, for the school district superintendent, to exercise their own judgment, in light of what they know about the community and the schools, and decide the best way to balance transgender students’ requests with other students’ rights and expectations?”
Age 13: One-Night Stands & STDs
A New Jersey 8th-grade class homework assignment was allegedly based on Sean Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, but it had little to do with that book.
Here’s the premise of the English language arts homework assignment:
“You had a really rotten day, but lucky for you your best friend is having an awesome party later. You go to the party and start drinking. You have a little too much to drink and start talking to this girl/guy you’ve never seen before. You head upstairs to get better acquainted despite several friends telling you that you don’t even know this person. You end up having sex with this person. The next day you really can’t remember everything that happened and rely on your best friend to fill you in. A week later you find out that you contracted herpes from your one night stand and that this is a disease you will have all your life and never know when an outbreak will occur.”
The mother of a 13-year-old boy at the Myron L. Powell Elementary School in Cedarville, New Jersey, was appalled when her child was given a homework assignment that asked him to give a “reactive response” to this scenario of illegal underage drinking, drunkenness, sex with a stranger, a one-night stand, and sexually transmitted disease. This wasn’t a sex education class, from which she might have been able to opt him out. This happened in English class.
When she contacted the school, the mother was “told by the chief school administrator [the assignment] was part of the school’s core curriculum and goes along with a book given to students called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.” (NBC.com, 11-4-15)
This explanation is misleading because no such assignment is included in Mr. Covey’s book.
According to the book description on Amazon, it is a “step-by-step guide to help teens improve self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve their goals, get along with their parents, and much more.” Suggestions that students should think ahead about when to have sex and warnings of the dangers of contracting sexually transmitted disease are included in the book.
As far as the school’s use of the words “core curriculum,” it is unknown whether this assignment has a Common Core link. More than a few parents might object to using this book for those who are just barely teenagers. Reading classical literature in English class might be more beneficial for 13-year-olds than this “informational text.” Common Core mandates that a high percentage of time in English language arts is spent analyzing informational texts.
The school, which serves students from kindergarten to 8th grade, did not respond to the local NBC television station’s request for comment.
Preschoolers Need More Time Outside
As more communities approve universal preschool, many schools aren’t doing what’s best for young children. Research shows that children benefit from active, outdoor activity. In many preschools, children sit at desks trying to memorize letters and numbers, in an attempt to get a head start on required testing. One activity even involves practicing properly filling in test “bubbles.” Many schools have reduced recess time and some have cancelled it altogether. This seems ridiculous and it can be a disastrous way to introduce children to school.
Early childhood development expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor emerita of education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who has over thirty years experience teaching preschool teachers, calls this a “twisted time.” She laments the test and punish atmosphere prevalent even for very young children. In a speech she made after receiving the Deborah Meier award from the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing, Carlsson-Paige said:
“I’ve been fascinated with the theories and science of my field and seeing it expressed in the actions and the play of children. So never in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen the situation we find ourselves in today. Where education policies that do not reflect what we know about how young children learn could be mandated and followed. We have decades of research in child development and neuroscience that tell us that young children learn actively — they have to move, use their senses, get their hands on things, interact with other kids and teachers, create, invent. . . . And never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that we would have to defend children’s right to play.” (Washington Post, 11-24-15)
For over two years, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center researchers measured the activity levels of almost 400 children, ages 3 to 6, who were enrolled at 30 different child-care centers. They found that although outdoor play was scheduled by the centers, only 40% of children were actually outdoors during the time allotted. Over 30% of pre-schoolers had no time outdoors.
When young children are given time outdoors, they engage in physical activity. The senior author of the Cincinnati study says, ”We know daily physical activity is essential for children’s growth and development.” The study says that outdoor exercise “boosts heart and bone health,” is linked to “improving mood, attention, and cognitive performance,” and to preventing obesity.
This study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. (CBS, 11-20-15)
Another study observed preschoolers at ten child-care centers over two years in the Seattle area and found that 73% of their day was sedentary. This study, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that 13% of the young children’s time involved light activity, and only 14% was spent doing “moderate to vigorous physical activity.” The average time the children spent outdoors was only 33 minutes daily. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) guidelines for preschoolers recommend 120 minutes of physical activity daily.
Researchers who conducted the Seattle study say that child-care characteristics that are best for children include more physical activity, outdoor time, open space, and “staff supportive of physical activity.” They note, “Five million U.S. children attend preschools or structured child-care programs.” The authors estimate that “nearly half of children aren’t meeting minimal recommendations for amount of daily physical activity.” (AAPpublications.org, 5-2015)
In the Pacific Northwest, “outdoor preschools” are becoming popular, as they have been in some European nations for decades. One such school is run by the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. Nature Kids is a play-based preschool at Discovery Park, where “children are encouraged to learn at their own pace through active play and discovery time.” Nature Kids accepts children from ages three to five. They attend preschool from two to f i v e days a week, either in a morning or an afternoon program that lasts for three-and one-half hours.
Youngsters in the Nature Kids program are outside every day, even when they need to wear their all-weather coats and boots.
Outdoor preschools aren’t just gaining traction in milder climates. The Hartley Nature Preschool in Duluth, Minnesota accepts children ages 3 to 5; they attend a morning or an afternoon program, two or three days a week. The school “emphasizes learning through playing outdoors” and is based in a city-owned, 660-acre park. Children are outdoors for about two hours a day. Hartley is one of six outdoor-based preschools in Duluth.
Last Child in the Woods, a book written by Richard Louv who invented the term “nature deficit disorder,” is a helpful resource for parents wishing to learn more about the importance of allowing young children free time to explore the natural world outdoors.
Students Have Religious Liberty
Some wonder how much Christian students will be allowed to celebrate Christmas at public schools or to share about their religious beliefs. Since it is important to know what rights students have at school, Education Reporter is publishing the following, which was prepared by the Liberty Foundation. The Liberty Foundation believes that “the most precious freedom” in our society is “religious liberty, our first liberty in the Bill of Rights.” They want to help parents and students to protect “against increasingly hostile legal threats to [their] freedom to believe and to act upon [their] beliefs.”
25 Surprising Facts About Religious Rights in Public Schools
1. Students and educators do have First Amendment religious rights inside public schools.
2. Students can speak about their faith even when teachers must be neutral.
3. Schools cannot treat religious activity differently than other activity.
4. Students can pray during lunch, recess, or other designated free time.
5. Students can pray silently during a school’s moment of silence.
6. Students can read the Bible or other religious materials at school.
7. Students can share their faith with fellow students.
8. Schools can acknowledge religion.
9. Students can pray, either individually or as a group, at school athletic competitions, student assemblies, or other extracurricular activities when school officials are not involved.
10. In many cases, a school district can allow student-led prayer before an athletic competition (such as a football game), a student assembly, or other extracurricular event as part of the school program.
11. Students can pray at graduation ceremonies or include religious content in their speeches.
12. A public school can refer to “Christmas” and have a “Christmas party” if the intent is not to advance Christianity.
13. A public school can display Christmas decorations if the intent is to teach and not part of a religious exercise.
14. A public school can include religious Christmas music, art, or drama in a school play or performance if it is used to teach history or cultural heritage and not advance a particular religion.
15. Students can give out Christmas gifts with religious messages at school parties.
16. Students can incorporate their faith or religion in classroom and homework assignments under normal and appropriate circumstances.
17. A public school district cannot be hostile toward religious beliefs.
18. Teachers and other public school employees can discuss religion with students under many conditions.
19. Teachers and other public school employees can discuss religion with other teachers or other school employees.
20. A public school or a teacher cannot limit religious speech by students unless they limit other speech.
21. Students can have a religious club at their school.
22. Religious student groups can meet on campus whenever other non-curricular clubs can meet.
23. Religious clubs can use the same school resources available to non-religious clubs (e.g., school facilities, bulletin boards, public address system) to promote or facilitate club events.
24. In most states, teachers or other public school employees may attend a religious student group’s meetings in a supervisory role.
25. Members of religious student clubs can distribute flyers about meetings and events just like non-religious clubs.
The Liberty Institute is “a legal powerhouse for religious liberty,” the largest legal organization dedicated solely to defending and preserving religious liberty in America. Liberty Institute offers a variety of Religious Liberty Protection Kits that outline the rights of churches, those in the military and other workplaces, and those involved in Christian schools and ministries. These kits and more information can be found at: www.ReligiousLibertyProtection.com and LibertyInstitute.org.
On November 14, about 150 yelling and confrontational Black Lives Matter protestors went into the main library on the Dartmouth College campus; they proceeded up several floors, hurled obscenities and racial slurs at “dozens of [students] of all races,” and physically intimidated those who were trying to study for exams. “Men and women alike were pushed and shoved by the group.” Five student reporters who related events in the school newspaper seem stunned by the protestors’ “disgraceful behavior” and the “protest’s boundless hostility.” In the end, they concluded: “In the case of Dartmouth’s most recent Black Lives Matter protest, let’s not convince ourselves that the wrongs that we witnessed were anything other than wrong.” (The Dartmouth Review, 11-14-15)
When the principal of Jackson Hole High School in Wyoming cancelled “America Day,” a traditional part of homecoming week celebrations, many patriotic students came to school wearing red white, and blue, and American flag regalia anyway. The school claimed some students who don’t consider themselves to be “American” might feel “targeted or singled out by this day.” The activities director told a local newspaper, “We’re trying to be inclusive and safe, make everyone feel welcome.” (Fox News, 10-5-15)
The Williams College student group that hosts a lecture series called “Uncomfortable Learning” cancelled a speaking engagement by Suzanne Venker, a critic of radical feminism, just days before it was to happen because her conservative viewpoint threatened to make students uncomfortable. Venker admitted she was disappointed after having put aside other work to prepare a speech for the engagement, saying, “It’s not a small thing to cancel people last minute.” She expressed concern that the “push for silencing dissent . . . undermines the entire purpose of college.” Williams is a private liberal arts college located in Massachusetts. (Reason, 10-21-15)
Since her endorsement by the two major teachers unions, Hillary Clinton says she’s “against the idea that you tie teacher evaluation and even teacher pay to test outcomes.” (Washington Post, 11-16-15)
According to the Department of Education, between 2003 and 2012, the percentage of homeschooled students in the nation increased by 61.8%. The agency’s most current figures are from 2012, when approximately 3.4% or 1,773,000 students were taught at home, according to the department’s National Center for Education Statistics. The DOE estimates are based on phone or mail surveys. (CNSnews.com, 5-19-15)
Ahmed Muhamed, the “suitcase clock boy,” is suing Irving, Texas, and its school district for $15 million. He and his family flounced off to Qatar but are reportedly homesick and want to return to Texas. (CBN.com, 12-2-15)
Book of the Month
World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students, Yong Zhao, Corwin Publishing, 2012, $29.95
S c h o o l c h i l d r e n who used to love school now hate it and those as young as kindergarten are sobbing in frustration over Common Core testing. What Yong Zhao predicted would happen when Common Core, or “the wrong bet,” was instituted in schools has come to fruition.
Dr. Zhao was born and educated in China, where he lived until he began graduate studies in the U.S. He’s a full professor at the University of Oregon College of Education, a researcher, and a consultant who has published 20 books and over 100 articles.
Zhao wrote in 2012, “If the Common Core standards movement accomplishes its goal, America will have lost what the Chinese envy and admire.” China’s leaders now realize their “test-oriented education system” is a failure.
In 2010, only 1% of patents filed for or granted by leading patent offices outside China were granted to Chinese enterprises. Zhao continues, “50% of China-origin patents were granted to subsidiaries of foreign multinationals.” Zhao says that these results are due to the creativity-killing Chinese education system.
“What the Chinese find valuable in American education is a decentralized, autonomous system that does not have standards, uses multiple criteria for judging the value of talents, and celebrates individual differences,” says Zhao.
The author points out the folly that is Common Core, a bad choice because it devastates the “traditionally extremely decentralized education system,” and replaces it with “increased national control of what children should learn.”
Common Core and No Child Left Behind have narrowed curriculum and caused schools to teach only what will be tested. Breadth and depth of learning has suffered, as have teaching art, music, dance, and more.
As scores become the primary way to judge students, they suffer from the stress of high-stakes testing. Creative students who don’t test well are not only made to feel like failures, they become failures when good test scores are the only road to success.
Zhao says when our system allows individual students to find their passion at school, we are successful. Eliminating every means to succeed except testing is a fatal mistake that destroys children’s futures.
America is a highly creative nation; our education system works when we respect children and encourage curiosity and creativity. Zhao says we are successful when we “allow students to pursue activities and interests,” to “think for themselves,” and to “take risks.”
FOCUS: The Deconstruction of Gender
by Babette Francis
A speech delivered on September 13, 2015, at the 44th Eagle Council, the major annual conference of Eagle Forum, held in St Louis, Missouri. Reprinted with permission.
The title of my paper is “The Deconstruction of Gender,” but it is really about the deconstruction of reality and what is bordering on a collective insanity. I say “bordering on insanity” because there is still apparently a line to be crossed. A man is a hero if he calls himself a woman, but if he thinks he is Napoleon he is regarded as crazy; but is it any more likely that Bruce Jenner is a woman than a reincarnated Napoleon?
I was born in India where many Hindus believe in reincarnation, so a man, especially one who has fathered several children, is just as likely to be Napoleon as he is to be a woman. And what if a man thinks he is a chicken trapped in a man’s body? If a man is called courageous because he says he is a woman, isn’t he even more courageous for saying he is a chicken? And how long before we provide him with feather implants, poultry hormones, and beak surgery? Let him strut and crow and legally marry hens. Let’s open a new frontier not merely in transgender but in trans-species.
Well, where did all this nonsense start? One can speculate that some of it is caused by the concentration of estrogen from contraceptive pills in water supplies which has been observed to cause fish to change sex. However, human beings are not fish, and I prefer the witty observation of a mathematician who commented that she thought the earth was rotating through a cloud of stupid gas.
Where my observations started was when I was appointed a member of the Committee on Equal Opportunity in Schools in my home state of Victoria in Australia in the late seventies. The committee’s function was to encourage more girls to study math and science and to encourage boys to study home economics and sewing. The committee was dominated by feminists whose thesis was that there would be more equalization of subject choices in school if lesbianism and/or an androgynous, unisex society was promoted, starting with books in kindergarten such as Jane Has Two Mothers.
Well, I had studied math and science in India 50 years ago in what was quite a traditional society, and I didn’t think lesbianism had anything to do with girls choosing to study math. I discovered that the leading private schools in Victoria had twice as many math classes in their schedules than the government schools. I wrote a minority report, making the recommendation that the number of math classes in government schools be doubled.
But I found that feminists are not interested in rational debate. They insist at one and the same time that there are no differences between men and women, but also that the world would be a more compassionate place if more women were in power. If one argues that this is not logical, feminists retort that logic is a male construct and that women think differently, with “empathy and intuition” rather than logic. Have you ever noticed that arguing with a feminist is like wrestling with Jell-O?
After the publication of my minority report, a number of women around Australia got in touch with me and said they had experienced the same frustrations with feminist domination of education in their home states, and eventually we got together and established Endeavour Forum, our inspiration being Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum. We realized that some political aspects of educational policy in Australia were a trickle-down from interpretations of United Nations treaties and conventions. So we began to attend the annual sessions of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York.
At the UN we discovered that the policy was not so much the promotion of a unisex society as the promotion of multiple genders: they were lobbying for five genders: male, female, asexual, transsexual, and hermaphrodite. The situation reached high drama at a session of the Commission on the Status of Women when the development agencies of the Scandinavian countries threatened to withhold development money from Nicaragua unless the Nicaraguan government sacked the head of its delegation, Max Padilla, from his then-Cabinet post as Minister for the Family.
His offense, ongoing from the 1999 International Conference on Population and Development in New York, was to refuse to accept the European Union definition of “gender” as an arbitrary social construct which could include several “genders.” He insisted that “gender” be defined in its common meaning of two sexes, male and female. The hapless Mr. Padilla was duly recalled — Nicaragua is a poor country vulnerable to economic coercion. His replacement arrived, but he had apparently not been briefed about what he was supposed to say, because he looked at the papers before him and said, “But in my country we only have men and women. . . .”
This is what passes for debate at the UN and your taxes are paying for much of it, as the United States is the major funder of the United Nations. Today, however, five genders seems comparatively modest. The Australian Human Rights Commission acknowledges 23 genders, and Facebook recognizes 58 genders, all of which are also recognized by the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
These genders include: Agender, Androgyne, Androgynous, Bigender, Cisgender, Cis Female, Cis Male, Gender Fluid, Gender Nonconforming, Gender Questioning, Gender Variant, Gender-queer, Intersex, Neither, Neutrois, Non-binary, Pangender, Transgender, Trans Person, Transfeminine, Transmasculine, Transsexual, Transsexual Female, Transsexual Male, Transsexual Person, and Two-Spirit.
Our Victorian Labor government has recently appointed a Gender and Sexuality Commissioner. Her name is Rowena Allen, and she derives her inspiration directly from your Native Americans. She is quoted in a recent article in Melbourne’s Age newspaper as follows: “I identify as a Walker, which is a Native American term for someone who walks between genders. At any point people will call me male or ‘sir,’ which is great when you’re buying a car, but I’m just as comfortable in a group of women.” She also identifies as a lesbian.
And how does one select one’s gender? Well, the Yogyakarta Principles, enunciated by a handful of human rights lobbyists and a radical homosexual group who met in Yogyakarta in Indonesia in 2007, determined in its preamble that “gender identity” refers to “each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical, or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech, and mannerisms.”
All this may seem absurd, but it also involves tragedies. No doubt you have read about the Reimer twins, victims of the late Dr. John Money’s grand experiment into changing sex. One of the boys, David, due to a circumcision accident, had his penis badly damaged. Dr. Money — who was professor of pediatrics and medical psychology at Johns Hopkins University from 1951 until his death in 2006 — encouraged his parents to have him castrated and to bring him up as a girl. The experiment did not work, and both of the boys as adult men committed suicide.
This tragedy is also reflected in data from Sweden, which shows that the incidence of suicide is higher among those who identify as transgender and who have had sex-change surgery than among those who have not had the surgery.
The Gender Identity Clinic at Johns Hopkins was closed, and Dr. Money’s controversial evening course in human sexology was cancelled in the late seventies. Dr. Paul McHugh, chairman of the Psychiatry Department at Johns Hopkins, criticized transsexual surgery as “the most radical therapy ever encouraged by 20th-century psychiatrists,” and likened it to the once widespread practice of frontal lobotomy. Dr. Jon Meyer, a Hopkins psychiatrist and former director of the Gender Identity Clinic, produced a long-term follow-up of fifty post-operative and pre-operative adult transsexuals treated at Johns Hopkins and reported that none showed any measurable improvement in their lives and concluded that “sex reassignment surgery confers no objective advantage in terms of social rehabilitation.”
There is a determined push by the homosexual rights movement to legitimize sex changes and also for the right for birth certificates to be altered to show the “new” gender, even when there has been no hormone treatment or surgery, i.e., individuals should have the right to be regarded as male or female regardless of anatomy and based solely on their feelings of self-identification.
New York is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate, even if they have not had sex-change surgery. People born in the city would be able to change the documented sex on their birth certificates by providing affidavits from a doctor and a mental health professional stating why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex, and asserting that their proposed change would be permanent. Applicants would need to have changed their name and shown that they had lived in their adopted gender for at least two years, but there would be no explicit medical requirements. “Surgery versus non-surgery can be arbitrary,” said Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner. “Somebody with a beard may have had breast-implant surgery. It’s the permanence of the transition that matters most.”
Then there are the staff and students of the University of Tennessee’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion who want people to think beyond the “he/she” pronouns and are encouraging the use of gender-neutral pronouns such as “xe,” “xym” and “xyr.”
Donna Braquet, director of the University of Tennessee’s Pride Center, wrote in a newsletter: “Transgender people and people who do not identify within the gender binary may use a different name than their legal name and pronouns of their gender identity, rather than the pronouns of the sex they were assigned at birth.” She suggested instructors learn students’ chosen names and chosen pronouns during the first few weeks of classes.
“We are familiar with the singular pronouns she, her, hers, and he, him, his, but those are not the only singular pronouns. In fact, there are dozens of gender-neutral pronouns.”
State Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, said he thought the suggestion was a joke. “And then I found out it was true,” he said, “at which point I thought, ‘Are we really paying somebody to come up with this stuff?’” Dunn, a graduate of UT, said he would rather see public money spent on other academic areas such as math or technology.
“I just think that when people pay their taxes, they would rather have it go to a university so that people can learn something,” Dunn said, “not be brainwashed into some gobbledygook.” State Senator Frank Niceley posted on Facebook: “It seems to me the biggest lack of diversity we have at the University of Tennessee is people of common sense.”
Universities in Michigan, Maryland, and North Carolina have had campaigns on gender-neutral terms, he said. University of Vermont has gender-neutral terms on its forms. At Washington State University, Professor Selena Lester Breikss told students of her “Women and Popular Culture” class that they would risk “failure for the semester” if they used the terms “males” or “females,” because they are “gross generalizations” and “derogatory/oppressive language.”
She added: “Not everyone in society identifies on a strict male-or-female basis, according to diversity office staff, so they are asking people to be aware some may identify themselves with a name and gender that’s not strictly male or female. We should not assume someone’s gender by their appearance, nor by what is listed on a roster or in student information systems.”
The idiocy is not confined to the United States — in Australia our federal Labor government in 1974 appointed a royal commission on human relationships, which recommended that “id” be used for both sexes instead of he or she. Most Australians thought this an idiotic recommendation.
But there appears to be a dose of partial sanity from Boulder, Colorado. A law there was passed a few years back extending legal protection to transsexuals (known as “gender-variants”) so that they will not be discriminated against in housing, public accommodations, or employment. Transsexuals may have full access to public bathrooms which serve the sex of their choice. The law states: “At work, employees can change gender identity and dress as the opposite sex without fear of being fired — but only three times within every year-and-a-half. After that, their employer is permitted to fire them on the grounds of ‘gender inconsistency.’”
In a homily for the Mass of the Election of the Pope before the conclave where he was elected pope, Benedict XVI said, “We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists of one’s own ego and desires.”
I will conclude by telling you a story about Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain. She was visiting a psychiatric hospital and one of the patients, a nicely spoken lady, came up to her and asked her who she was. Mrs. Thatcher replied, “I am Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister of Great Britain.” The woman patted her on the arm and said, “It is okay, dear, I used to think I was too when I first came here, but they eventually cured me.”
But why should that nice lady have been “cured”? If Bruce Jenner can be “Caitlyn,” why can’t that lady be Margaret Thatcher? Why should I be cured? You see I also think I am Margaret Thatcher, and I hope you will applaud my bravery and courage in “coming out.” I just happen to be trapped in this small brown Indian body, but I hope you will all treat me with the respect due to the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Babette Francis is a founder of Endeavour Forum, begun in Australia in response to the “feminism” of the 1970s, which addressed some legitimate concerns but failed to defend the rights of traditional women in families. Endeavour Forum believes that men and women are equal but different, not equal and the same. Mrs. Francis trained in microbiology and chemistry. She is the mother of eight, grandmother of twenty, and great-grandmother of four.