Christian Right's Distress Over Transgender Youth Hits Fever Pitch
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed May 18, 2016 at 11:26:30 AM EST
Never ones to allow grass grow under their feet when confronted by social and cultural changes, the Christian Right has responded with a thunderous "No Way Obama," to the joint directive from Department of Justice and the Department of Education to public schools across the country advising them that they need to permit transgender students access to bathrooms consistent with the gender with which they identify, and deals with such issues as housing, locker rooms, pronouns and gender references on identity documents.

The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins called the directive a "missive ... courtesy of the lawless bullies at the Departments of Justice and Education." Other Christian Right leaders are calling it "radical social engineering," and a "leftist coup of local schools." One longtime conservative activist is calling on Christians to remove their children from public schools.

The "Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students" issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, on May 13, stated: "Schools across the country strive to create and sustain inclusive, supportive, safe, and nondiscriminatory communities for all students. In recent years, we have received an increasing number of questions from parents, teachers, principals, and school superintendents about civil rights protections for transgender students. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and its implementing regulations prohibit sex discrimination in educational programs and activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance.1 This prohibition encompasses discrimination based on a student's gender identity, including discrimination based on a student's transgender status. This letter summarizes a school's Title IX obligations regarding transgender students and explains how the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) evaluate a school's compliance with these obligations" (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-20160 5-title-ix-transgender.pdf).

The 8-page letter is considered "significant guidance," which means it "does not add requirements to applicable law, but provides information and examples to inform recipients about how the Departments evaluate whether covered entities are complying with their legal obligations." It also provides definitions of terms that have confused administrators and the general public, including:

  •  "Gender identity refers to an individual's internal sense of gender. A person's gender identity may be different from or the same as the person's sex assigned at birth."

  •  "Sex assigned at birth refers to the sex designation recorded on an infant's birth certificate should such a record be provided at birth."

  •  "Transgender describes those individuals whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. A transgender male is someone who identifies as male but was assigned the sex of female at birth; a transgender female is someone who identifies as female but was assigned the sex of male at birth."

  •  "Gender transition refers to the process in which transgender individuals begin asserting the sex that corresponds to their gender identity instead of the sex they were assigned at birth. During gender transition, individuals begin to live and identify as the sex consistent with their gender identity and may dress differently, adopt a new name, and use pronouns consistent with their gender identity. Transgender individuals may undergo gender transition at any stage of their lives, and gender transition can happen swiftly or over a long duration of time."

The Transgender Law Center's executive director, Kris Hayashi, said: "Transgender students, like all students, just want to be able to go to school, be with their friends, and get an education without having to worry about being singled out and made to feel different."

Christian Right leaders respond

"President Obama has once again demonstrated his resolute commitment to this radical social reengineering, based around sexual deviancy and gender identity, by practically sending off an extortion letter to all of the United States' public schools, including colleges, universities, high schools, elementary and middle schools," said Abraham Hamilton III, of the American Family Association.

"[Lawsuits will be filed], but many of these challenges will be lodged in district courts that are stacked with Obama appointees - and if not district courts, many of the appellate courts are stacked as well," Hamilton added. "So of course we must be vigilant in challenging things legally, but ultimately people need to be prepared for the real prospect that this could end up in your local schools."

Gary Bauer, of Campaign for Working Families maintained that "The overwhelming amount of federal aid to local public schools goes to the school districts because of disadvantaged children - and those funds often are aimed at minority communities. So the President of the United States and the attorney general are holding hostage low-income, minority children getting the aid they need to close the educational gap - and they're doing that on behalf of basically the gay rights movement and their transgender ally.

Bauer implored "Every African-American pastor in America ought to be at the pulpit this Sunday condemning this administration for putting the needs of low-income, minority children after the demands of this strange lobbying group that wants to turn human nature and common sense upside down."

"It's essentially a coup, a leftist coup of local schools - and parents and communities and states need to stand up against this," said Linda Harvey of Mission America." I do hope that Congress acts. We need to stop it somehow, whether it's a taxpayer lawsuit; a mass, class-action lawsuit - I don't know if that kind of thing is allowable; impeachment proceedings; or some other fashion. Maybe it's simply ignoring him because no law backs this up - there is no law that backs up what he's doing."

Longtime conservative activist Randy Thomasson, of SaveCalifornia.com, linked Obama's directive to culture war battle of the past forty years. ""From Harvey Milk sexual indoctrination this month, to teaching kids throughout the year that homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, and teen fornication are good and natural and maybe even for them - the only way to protect your children from this harm is to permanently remove them from government schools, and to either enroll them in solid church schools or do homeschooling. Rescue your precious boys and girls while you still can.

"We know that public schools have been dumbing down kids for a long time, but if school administrators think they have to submit to this bully tactic, it shows they've either dumbed themselves down or are purposefully deceiving parents once again."




Display:
and the most common comment I read is "We didn't have a problem before!  The liberals are CREATING a problem!"

I so wanted to reply (in letters to the editor and public venues): "Maybe if you'd LISTEN to people, you'd learn that it's been a problem for many years, but people were too scared to come out/be different because of Christian persecution and violence!"  (Some of my LGBT friends had to flee this area for their lives because of their orientation.)

I didn't reply because it's too dangerous.  I expect to start hearing of violence towards people like us for putting things on websites like this, in the near future (and hope to avoid more suffering at Christian hands).  The problem is spreading and they're infecting more and more people with their "Bible-based" hateful ideology.


by ArchaeoBob on Mon May 23, 2016 at 01:38:35 PM EST


They want a rigid narrow everything in its place as they see it world. A society that is changing becoming more diverse, not less, is anathema to them. Up can imagine the kind of society they would create; color coded, class coded with leaders and followers and servants and the more obvious slaves.

by Nightgaunt on Tue May 24, 2016 at 06:40:24 PM EST


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