Gender politics in classrooms is hurting kids
Teaching little boys and girls that they’re neither: Gender politics in classrooms is hurting kids
Barbara Kay, in a National Post article called “When gender identity education and theory goes wrong”, comments on a story that illustrates much of what’s wrong with teaching the new gender orthodoxy to children.
To summarize the story: the Buffones family’s six-year-old daughter, referred to as “N” to protect her privacy, was a happy girl, comfortable in her skin, and loved school. But she “was abruptly plunged into considerable distress when informed by her teacher… during a session on gender identity that gender is fluid and untethered to biology, and that ‘girls are not real’ and ‘boys are not real.’” The parents tried but failed to put a stop to this nonsense. Kay explains:
The lessons continued and so did N’s distress, to the point of asking to see a doctor about her fears. The family says… “they were concerned about the impact (on) N’s view of herself as a girl. Prior to (the teacher’s) discussions with the Grade One class, N had consistently identified as a girl and had not previously expressed uncertainty or discontent with her gender identity and biological sex.” The Buffones had asked the teacher to affirm N’s identity as a girl — that is, reassure her that her identity as female was “real” in order to relieve her anxiety. Nothing that the Buffones asserted was denied by the school or its officials, but their request was rebuffed out of hand, first by the teacher, who said her lessons reflected “a change within society,” then by the principal, and all the way up the ladder to the superintendent of the school board and the curriculum superintendent.
The family has taken the teacher and school board to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. The family is asking the Tribunal to order the school board to ensure that classroom instruction does “not devalue, deny, or undermine in any way the female gender identity,” and that parents be informed when lessons on gender identity take place.
The school board’s lawyers have asked for the complaint to be dismissed. According to Kay, the board’s lawyers noted that the teacher’s right to teach gender identity – even in grade one, for a prolonged period of time, and despite clear evidence that it is traumatizing children – is endorsed by the Minister of Education. Note well that this is referring to the Minister of Education under Doug Ford’s Conservative government. The school board lawyers are also arguing that the “age-appropriateness of a classroom discussion does not engage a Code-protected prohibited ground.” And they argue that even if N was adversely affected by the teacher’s lessons — which they don’t deny — she has no claim under the Human Rights Code, because she was not discriminated against in connection with her sex, gender identity, or gender expression.
Kay points out:
If the school board is successful in its argument, it means that the words “gender identity” and “gender expression” do not apply to everyone. They apply only to those whose gender identity does not synchronize with their biology — the protection of a biologically female child to identify as a girl would not be protected. Feelings of distress among the very small percentage of children whose gender identity differs from their biological sex must be alleviated at all costs. If that cost involves distress or confusion in the vast majority of other children like N, that is not “discrimination.”
This is a point that ARPA Canada has been making for years. The addition of the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Human Rights Code (already added to the Ontario Code back in 2012, and to many other provincial and federal codes since) creates special rights for particular people. All the other protected personal characteristics listed in the Code apply to all of us: age, sex, (dis)ability, creed, race, etc. But the arguments of the lawyers for the school board seems to suggest that there is a privileged group of students – those who identify as a gender other than one that corresponds with their biological sex – and that trumps.
Dr. Jordan Peterson, writing about the same case, explains how the new dogmas of gender identity fundamentally shift what “identity” actually is. It disconnects identity from a social role that is socially negotiated, to something “solely determined by the individual in question”. An identity, Peterson argues, “is not merely what you think you are, moment to moment, or year by year, but (quoting Encyclopedia Britannica)… ‘a comprehensive pattern of behaviour that is socially recognized, providing a means of identifying and placing an individual in society,’ also serving ‘as a strategy for coping with recurrent situations and dealing with the roles of others (e.g., parent-child roles).’”
In other words, Peterson explains, “your identity is not the clothes you wear, or the fashionable sexual preference or behaviour you adopt and flaunt, or the causes driving your activism”.
As Christians, we would have a more fundamental starting point than Peterson, though.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)
This is our starting point. We are all unique creations and yet we all share this fundamental quality: each human being is an image-bearer of the Creator and by that fact full of dignity and worth. That Creator made half of his image-bearers male and half of them female. He made us with a variety of skin colours and hair colours, passions and interests, talents and abilities. A Christian can (and should!) celebrate the uniqueness of each human being while affirming the binary sexual categories. When properly understood, this deeper and richer understanding of who our neighbour is, what their identity fundamentally is whether they recognize it or not, whether they identify as transgender, Wiccan, communist, or not, this will transform our interactions.
Ms. Kay shares another story, similar to N’s, that one of her reader’s shared with her:
“Their son had never shown the slightest sign of gender confusion before lessons on gender theory began in school, with children being encouraged to identify along a spectrum rather than asserting they were either ‘girl’ or ‘boy.’ Out of the blue… he came home one day and announced he was ‘pansexual’ and a ‘demi-girl.’ The parents took their son to see a psychologist. When she was told the name of the school and teacher, the therapist exclaimed, ‘You are the seventh set of parents from that class who have come to me with this problem!’”
Obviously, there is something terribly wrong with teaching little children the new theory of gender fluidity as gospel truth. Peterson, a clinical psychologist, comments, “The seriousness of the philosophical and psychological confusion… should not be underestimated. I can barely envision a pedagogical strategy less conducive to stable early childhood development… there is nothing that it signifies that is reasonable, logical, practical, or true.”
Yet, writes Peterson, “’gender fluidity’ is school board policy, even for six-year-olds, and the distress of a perfectly normal child at the lessons is [in the school board’s view] a price well worth paying to ensure that ideological purity, no matter how counterproductive and absurd, is stringently maintained. Better the child suffers than the teacher thinks. Better the entire educational system reformulates itself around the new dogma… than the ideologues governing its structure question their absurd and fundamentally resentful presumptions.”
This really is blind ideological dogma – against all science and common sense, our public education system is insisting that boys can be girls, girls can be boys and, well, they actually can’t be either, either… because, after all, gender is just a social construct. So you can be anything and nothing and everything in between. A religious commitment to the tenets of Gnosticism underlies the spread of this ideology. This religion is being imposed on public school children from an early age. As we’ve always said, public schools are not neutral.
Ms. Kay concludes by calling for an investigative task force to evaluate the teaching of gender identity in public schools. I second that. It should not surprise us that an ideology which is completely unmoored from reality and nature as God designed it, is causing great distress to children and other vulnerable people.
Christians must understand that God’s design for us is good. His design for society, for authority, for nature, for relationships, is all good. And when we think we know better, when humanity revolts against God’s good design, then bad things happen, and the bad things happen first to the most vulnerable starting with little children. What does it mean to love our neighbour as ourselves? It means speaking up for these little children who are lining up in therapists’ offices, seeking help to discover “who they are”, though God has made it clear.
Jordan Peterson argues that the silence of the majority on this issue is driven by fear. But our silence, he says, will “generate a state of affairs among our children and adolescents that we will come in the decades to follow to deeply and profoundly regret.”
We must not fear. This is a resounding theme of scripture: Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Timothy, and many more are comforted (“Do not fear”) and commanded (“Do not fear!”). Not only does Scripture tell us to be courageous, but it also warns that cowardice is a lamentable sin worthy of judgement (Rev. 21:8). We must be willing to take a stand for the truth, come what may. Common sense will only remain so as long as we speak it. It’s common sense that you don’t tell a little girl that she might be a boy. It’s downright silly to suggest such a thing. But if no one dares to point out the fact that the emperor has no clothes, then that sensibility becomes uncommon and risks being marginalized or silenced altogether.
Loving our neighbours in this context means speaking up for “N” and all the little girls and boys in our public schools. It means objecting publicly, forcefully, winsomely, and graciously to this destructive social experiment. We should be righteously angry. We should call on our MPPs directly to stop this dangerous practice of teaching little children lies.
ONTARIANS: We’ve created an Easymail that you can send to your MPP asking them to address the issue of gender in the school curriculum. Click Here.