Beware The Gender Unicorn: Franklin Graham Takes Aim At The Transgender Community
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 10, 2016 at 11:17:35 AM EST

Part of my job involves monitoring the activities of Religious Right groups, which means every day my email box receives messages from groups like the Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom and American Family Association (AFA).

The AFA has lately been going around the bend about something called the "gender unicorn." This unicorn, which has apparently surfaced (metaphorically speaking) in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, has Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, in quite a tizzy.

Terms like "brainwashing" and "gender-bender morality" were being tossed around. I knew I had to check it out.

p>"Parents, watch out," Graham blared in a story distributed by OneNewsNow, an AFA "news" service. "They are using this unicorn to grab the imagination of children and make this seem acceptable."

He added, "Parents should be enraged and so should we. The Communists used brainwashing in Eastern Europe and Russia, and they took the parents out of the decision-making process and the state began to make decisions about morality. This is a dangerous path."

Great gratuitous mention of the communists, but, really, Franklin, no reference to Hitler? I'm disappointed.

OK, so what's really going on in the Charlotte schools? I did a little digging. It turns out that the school system sponsored training for its teachers and staff on the challenges facing transgender students. Education officials wanted to make sure that all students are welcome in the schools, including those who are transgender.

The gender unicorn does exist. As the Charlotte Observer noted, the unicorn is a cartoon figure that was created by Trans Student Educational Resources, a national transgender youth group, to help people understand terms that are often used by the transgender community, such as "gender identity," "gender expression," "genderqueer," "cisgender" and "sex assigned at birth."

This training was for teachers, not students, and it's designed to keep kids safe, ensure that their rights are protected and that they're treated with the respect they deserve.

Naturally, Religious Right groups in the state are going crazy. The North Carolina Values Coalition has urged supporters to flood the school system with an electronic letter stating that the policy violates North Carolina's infamous "bathroom bill" and that it "jeopardizes the privacy, safety, and dignity of my child(ren). My child(ren) feel both anxious and disrespected faced with the reality that this new policy will force them to share intimate facilities with members of the opposite sex, threatening their well-being and peace of mind on a day-to-day basis."

The school system has reiterated that its policies are meant to stop bullying. They apply to all students equally. As the school system noted in a statement, it is "committed to nurturing a safe and welcoming learning environment for every student." Parents aren't kept in the dark. They are consulted.

Officials took this step because they are aware that transgender students face real challenges. Their risk factor for suicide is high. They often don't feel safe at school because they fear being bullied.

The men and women who run the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system are doing the responsible thing by addressing these issues and making sure teachers and staff have the resources they need to help transgender students stay in school and succeed.

That's their goal. What's Graham's? I suspect it's the usual Religious Right thing - whip people into a frenzy, raise cash and promote far-right candidates for public office in a quest to "Christianize" America - according to Graham's narrow definition of Christianity, of course. (Liberal Christians need not apply.)

To do this, Graham needs a new community to demonize. He and his pals lost the marriage equality case at the U.S. Supreme Court, but they didn't let that slow them down. Almost immediately, they started attacking the transgender community.

The school wants to keep these kids safe. Graham doesn't seem to care about their well-being and uses them to frighten and anger his supporters.

I believe any decent person is capable of deciding which approach is truly the moral one. 

Scary to those who want everyone to feel the way they do about something they find in the Bible that is "wrong" and "evil" so any friendly depictions get them riled up. In the olden days they would just go Inquisition on them and hang them or press them or dunk them, no burnings for witchcraft here just those aiding slave rebellions, so that they could stamp it out forth with and scare the holy terror into everyone around.

To us who want an even freer society than we now have it is the opposite of their razor thin narrow views of the world an how it works and how people are supposed to think. They can smell it in the air, a burning need to throw off the oppression of freedoms to return to the safe limited walls of captivity of the mind an body. Where they are told what and how to think and live.

To live under "freedom from" instead of "free to act".

by Nightgaunt on Sun Nov 13, 2016 at 09:45:07 PM EST

Foremost thing to do: do something with the bullying in school! Not only special students have to face with it, every student could be bullied. Thank you for sharing the post. instagram viewer

by tadobre on Mon Oct 30, 2017 at 05:28:48 AM EST

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