Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hate Group Leader Exposes the Mediocrity of His Wit

Mat Staver
The unhinged Mat Staver doesn't want students addressed by preferred pronouns. In an email to supporters he writes: “DOE Gets Failing Grade for So-called Transgender Student Memo.” At the risk of being pedantic, “DOE” is the abbreviation for the Department of Energy. The correct shorthand for the Department of Education is ED. Staver should know better. His take on how vulnerable children should be treated is similarly limited by ignorance.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a memo to public schools and teachers explaining that refusal to refer to so-called transgender students by their preferred pronoun or name could be grounds for an investigation.
“So-called?” What is that supposed to mean? If a child is transgender then he or she is transgender. Presumably Staver wants to further marginalize these kids to make a point about religious dogma. Mr. Staver doesn't seem to realize that being transgender is generally not a condition. Rather, it is a way of dealing with the underlying condition — gender dysphoria — which causes considerable suffering. Given Staver's vast knowledge of pediatric psychiatry perhaps he has developed a better approach.

Not referring to transgender children by their preferred pronouns is callous. Adults, who should know better, choose to do violence to vulnerable and fragile kids by inflicting their religious judgments upon them. The moralists have a convoluted idea of morality. Indeed, these Christians are wonderful and kind people. Just ask them.

Staver continues:
The memo, written by acting assistant secretary for civil rights Candice Jackson, lists several reasons why OCR investigators would assert "subject matter jurisdiction over and open [a case] for investigation." For example, a school's failure to quickly resolve a so-called transgender student's complaint of sex discrimination or treating a student different because of his or her failure to conform to "stereotyped notions of masculinity or femininity."
So what?
That list also includes "refusing to use a transgender student's preferred name or pronouns when the school uses preferred names for gender-conforming students or when the refusal is motivated by animus toward people who do not conform to sex stereotypes." An investigation could be conducted if there is failure to assess whether sexual harassment or gender-based harassment of a "transgender student created a hostile environment."
What is so goddamned difficult about using preferred pronouns, particularly when doing so contributes to the welfare of a child? I have been unable to determine if the Stavers have any children themselves. Mat Staver and his nutty wife, Anita, would pose a considerable threat to the development of any kids that they might have.

Evidence is meaningless to Staver, particularly when it comes to the education of children. Staver is a Young Earth creationist and thinks that creationism pseudoscience should be taught in the public schools (in addition to using incorrect pronouns). Staver's mediocre intellect makes him a useful idiot in some quarters. However, his influence on education should be limited to the marching band's repertoire, at most.

The original June 6 document to regional directors was provided by a reporter at the Los Angeles Times. Its near concluding paragraph reads:
… As Secretary DeVos stated on February 22, 2017, OCR remains committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools. I trust you will apply these instructions in line with the attitude and approach we are proud to foster here in OCR: that OCR exists to robustly enforce the civil rights laws under our jurisdiction, and we will do so in a neutral, impartial manner and as efficiently as possible.
We cannot lose sight of the fact that these kids are extremely vulnerable and easily marginalized. Mr. Staver should know that a civil society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members. His idea of vulnerability applies to conservative Christians who are held in check (somewhat) by the Establishment Clause. Not nearly enough. Not nearly enough.

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