When a school in my children’s district, along with a nearby Hindu temple, were tagged with xenophobic graffiti, a commission was established to address such bigotry. Among its recommendations: that gender-neutral restrooms be added to all district schools.
Combating racism by advancing transgendered rights seemed tangential, but this change was coming anyway, so why resist the pretext? But just as I was getting used to that one, President Obama issued a more avant-garde ultimatum: that students be allowed to use the restroom of whichever gender they “consistently identify with” . . . or the federal government will intentionally harm their entire community’s education by withholding funds.
Changes in other cultural norms — divorce, cohabitation, marriage — were at least subject to vigorous societal debate before federal law and the courts capitulated. But in the case of gender dysphoria, a condition modern psychology is still in the process of declassifying as a mental disorder, the executive branch has rushed to pre-empt further discussion and impose acceptance by force of law, using educational dollars as a weapon.
Meanwhile, advocates of transgendered rights argue that continued stigmatization of their constituents is perpetuated only by ignorance, often religiously enforced. Education is key to overcoming such prejudice. Might this mean that changes are coming to public school curricula, which will seek to re-educate our children on this matter — or propagandize them?
As a reasonably well-educated parent, keenly involved in my children’s learning, I feel up to the challenge of countering falsehoods they may be taught as truths. I’m no insecure reactionary, terrified they’ll leave the cave of religious darkness and emerge into progressive enlightenment.
Nor am I overly concerned they’ll be assaulted in restrooms by predators who’ll game the new system. As opponents of the North Carolina “bathroom bill” point out, there’s no empirical evidence to support that fear, yet.
I am uncomfortable with them potentially having to disrobe in locker rooms with opposite-sex children. But my biggest concern is what happens when one of them — following our ancient faith’s teaching that sex and gender go together, as part of a God-given nature — politely declines to refer to a biological male as “she,” or female as “he.”
Will they confront the crucible of whether to worship the idol Nebuchadnezzar has set up, or face disciplinary action, sensitivity training or the “reverse bigotry” of being labeled religious zealots?
Their mother and I endeavor to teach them virtues like kindness, humility and respect. But we also uphold honesty and integrity, which involve not capitulating to pressures to call something — or someone — what they are not. I hope they won’t be penalized for this. But part of me realizes if they are, they’ll be in historically good company.
That’s not the KKK, or whatever sinister cabal the latter-day revolutionary vanguard may allege, but a trio of youths who once entered a fiery furnace in Babylon.