Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Must everything be a conspiracy?

This photo appears on a Christian Post story
Asking respect for trans people is unthinkable
Christian Post is running with: “Don't Use Religious Arguments to Combat Transgender Activism in Public Schools, VVS Panelists Say.” That's right. Better to pretend that this has nothing to do with religious opprobrium. According to CP:
Noted advocates for children and families are unmasking how transgender activism has entered the public school system, and urging Christians to put aside differences with ideological opponents to resist it. And, they say, they should resist this without employing religious arguments.
Real advocates for children are mindful of the fact that trans and gender nonconforming kids are particularly fragile and vulnerable. They also appreciate the fact that trans kids do not present a risk to anyone — it is ordinarily the other way around. I have not done a study but suspect that advocacy for trans kids starts with their parents. Allow me to back up for a moment.

There are probably increasing numbers of trans kids in public school over the last ten years. This does not mean that there are more trans people. People become transgender to mitigate the depression and anxiety associated with gender dysphoria. Many people, including children, obtain considerable relief. Ten years ago, psychiatrists tried to prevent children from becoming transgender on the premise that they would grow out of it. That all goes back to the 40 year old “Sissy Boy” study which is no longer considered relevant.

Most kids do not grow out of gender dysphoria. If anything they become more certain of their gender. These days, clinicians are permitting children to become trans — incrementally — in order to reduce suffering and to prevent self-harm. Children can make a social transition without taking puberty blockers or hormones. There are desisters. However, as Karen Olson at University of Washington explains, desisters do so prior to becoming transgender.

Getting back to Christian Post:
As part of the Family Research Council's annual Values Voter Summit … FRC's Cathy Ruse described the growing prevalence transgenderism and how it is affecting education policy in American public schools. Additional speakers included Peter Sprigg, another FRC fellow, attorney from the Virginia-based The Family Foundation's Josh Hetzler, Concerned Parents and Educators Executive Director Meg Kilgannon, and Elizabeth Schultz, a member of the Fairfax County School Board, who spoke in her individual capacity.
Ms. Ruse is a lawyer. Peter Sprigg is a Baptist minister. Josh Hetzler is a lawyer. Concerned Parents and Educators is actually Concerned Parents and Educators of Fairfax County (VA). It represents one (apparently conservative Catholic) parent, Meg Kilgannon (education and experience unknown). Elizabeth Schultz has a BA in political science. Her career consists primarily of being a civil servant, a contract negotiator for various federal agencies. She was the lone school board vote against trans accommodations.

The point is that none of those people know anything about gender dysphoria or gender nonconformity. A real panel would probably include one psychiatrist and one parent of a trans child. They want to change the conversation dishonestly from religious to secular when all of these people are religious conservatives and without having secular, or even impartial, people on the panel. It is a disconnect. They are in no position to discuss the needs of trans kids. They collectively lack the knowledge necessary for that discussion. It is painfully obvious that they aren't the least bit interested in the needs of trans and gender nonconforming youth.

Later on:
They focused much of their attention on what has been occurring in Fairfax County as it is a populous, influential school district that neighbors D.C. and often serves as a model for districts across the country where educational best practices are first tested. Self-determined "gender identity" effectually replaced biological "sex" in official school guidelines there in 2015.
The use of the couplet “self-determined” is intended to cast doubt on the child's gender and gender as a legitimate construct. Trans kids are quite certain about their gender.
Ruse said in her remarks that "activists get transgender mandates in schools by targeting the school non-discrimination policy."

"First, they claim that students are being harassed and so policies must be changed," she said.

But that is a deceptive tactic, she went on to explain, noting that when this issue came up in Fairfax County, a savvy parent submitted a FOIA request inquiring how many students who identify as transgender had filed complaints of such harassment. The school district was thus legally obligated to respond, and ultimately replied that they had in fact received "zero" formal complaints.
That's where the conspiracy comes in. In this case one exists to undermine, … something. Who are these activists and what evidence exists regarding their tactics? The fact that no trans kid made a “formal” complaint does not mean that none were harassed. I think that even Ms. Ruse would have to agree that trans and gender nonconforming students are more vulnerable than others. To be honest I would want to examine both the FOIA request and the response. I wonder if Ruse has seen either.
By eclipsing biological sex with "gender identity," a whole new category is created, Ruse said. And despite repeated assurances from the school board that nothing would really change, notable changes to student handbooks, sex education, and disciplinary procedures occurred. A student who posted on Facebook criticisms of transgenderism could warrant punishment by school officials under the new policy, she said.
What is the negative effect of these changes? Who has been punished and why? The law on school control of students' speech is unsettled. Students can post pretty much at will to Facebook without school interference providing that they do so off-campus (Sagehorn v. ISD 728). More importantly, what about the trans kid? What is being done to protect someone with a rare medical condition?
"Gender identity mandates hurt all kids, not just those kids who may be gender dysphoric. Because these policies make them question their sense of safety, security, certainty and everything," Ruse continued, referencing a expert.
Ruse's “expert” remains undisclosed to CP readers. The notion that making kids safer will cause them to feel unsafe is rubbish. It is a terrible argument in an attempt to deflect from the fact that this is all about religious disapproval.
Kilgannon, who is a Fairfax County resident, noted she was stunned at the Board's swift move.

"The massive violation of public trust really cannot be overstated," she said, adding that if it can happen in Fairfax County it can happen anywhere. Yet in order to fight against this she recommended that conservatives and Christians avoid employing religious arguments because it is not effective.
Take religion out of this issue and what is left? This is about the need for a biblical binary. God only makes cisgender, heterosexual people. The word "deviant" defines someone who chooses not to adhere to the deity's plan. None of these kids are volunteers! They did not choose to become transgender. What are the reasons for opposing transgender accommodations? I am still waiting. Ms. Kilgannon is a conservative Catholic. Could that have something to do with it?
Secular arguments based on biology and reason have a broader appeal and are more relevant, she stressed, citing her work with the Hands Across the Aisle Coalition. HATAC is an ideologically diverse group of women who have put differences aside to combat transactivism, that includes conservatives, radical feminists, lesbians, and others who believe the "gender identity" movement amounts to an erasure to women's rights and poses a grave threat to the physical safety of women and girls.
There is no argument based on biology. That would obtusely ignore the construct of gender — which is a religious argument. HATAC, by the way, seems to consist of two people; Kaeley Triller Haver and Miriam Ben Shalom.

As Kaeley Triller the first of these women penned an article in The Federalist attempting to make the case that, as a rape survivor, she is rightfully opposed to transgender access. The missing piece is any evidence that any trans person has ever harmed someone in a bathroom. Haver worked on the unsuccessful anti-trans campaign in Washington State where she was a paid staffer.

Miriam Ben Shalom is, indeed, a lesbian (although she has had two marriages to men). She tries to make a convoluted case that transgender women are somehow taking something away from feminists on the premise that there should be women-only spaces. In other words, she dismisses the concept of gender and insists that trans women are men pretending to be women. That is not the view of the medical profession.

As for that “ideologically diverse group,” these are the people who signed HATAC's letter to HUD in an attempt to get Ben Carson to rescind transgender accommodations in shelters:

Kaeley Triller Haver
Co-Founder
Hands Across the Aisle Coalition

Miriam Ben-Shalom
Co-Founder
Hands Across the Aisle Coalition

Natasha Chart
Director
Women’s Liberation Front

Meg Kilgannon
Executive Director
Concerned Parents and Educators

Autumn Leva
Director of Policy & Communications
Family Policy Alliance

Michelle A. Cretella, MD, FCP
President
American College of Pediatricians

Penny Nance
CEO and President
Concerned Women for America

Trayce Bradford
President
Texas Eagle Forum

Barbara J Ferraro
Hawaii State Director
Concerned Women for America

Jill Noble
Kansas City Area Director
Concerned Women for America

Jill Coward
North Carolina State Director
Concerned Women for America

Debbie Leininger
Illinois State Director
Concerned Women of America

Dana Hodges
Texas State Director
Concerned Women for America

Tanya Ditty
Georgia State Director
Concerned Women for America

Dr. David Stevens
Chief Executive Officer
Christian Medical and Dental Associations

John Stemberger
President & General Counsel
Florida Family Action

David Fowler
President
Family Action of Tennessee, Inc.

Shannon McGinley
Executive Director
Cornerstone Action (New Hampshire)

Kent Ostrander
Executive Director
The Family Foundation (Kentucky)

Julaine K. Appling
President
Wisconsin Family Action
Aaron Baer
President
Citizens for Community Values (Ohio)

Rev. Jason J. McGuire
Executive Director
New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation

John L. Rustin
President
North Carolina Family Policy Council

Nicole Theis
President
Delaware Family Policy Council

John Helmberger
Chief Executive Officer
Minnesota Family Council

Jim Minnery
President
Alaska Family Action

Eric Teetsel
President & Executive Director
Family Policy Alliance of Kansas

Cole Muzio
President & Executive Director
Family Policy Alliance of Georgia

Mark Jorritsma
President & Executive Director
Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota

Joseph Backholm, Esq.
President
Family Policy Institute of Washington

Eva Andrade
President
Hawaii Family Forum

Len Deo
Founder & President
New Jersey Family Policy Council

Allen Whitt
President
West Virginia Family Policy Council

Jonathan Saenz
President
Texas Values

Karen Bowling
Executive Director
Nebraska Family Alliance

Randall L. Wenger, Chief Counsel
Jeremy Samek, Senior Counsel
Independence Law Center

Michael Geer
President
Pennsylvania Family Council

Carroll Conley
Executive Director
Christian Civic League of Maine

Gene Mills
President
Louisiana Family Forum Action

Emily Zinos
Project Consultant
Ask Me First MN

That's right. Of the 40 signers, 37 are part of the religious right. That is certainly a “diverse group of women who have put differences aside to combat transactivism.” Sure.
"America is not ready to give 15-year-olds double mastectomies because they feel trapped in their bodies. And no one is going to fault you if you want to want to wait a hot minute before you put an eight-year-old on puberty blocking hormones," Kilgannon said.

"Someone should do something about this, and that someone is you," she told those in attendance several times.
Now this is out of concern for the kids. Parents should substitute Kilgannon's judgment for their own and that of their doctors. Exactly why they should do so is never explained. What does Kilgannon really know about any of this? What 15-year-old had a double mastectomy? What eight-year-old received puberty blockers (which are not hormones)? And even if they did, how is that any of Kilgannon's business? Ms. Kilgannon must be wed to the idea that we are all idiots. This is about one thing — and only one thing: Defense of the Christian faith. In the end this represents a preference for superstition over medical science. Kids have to suffer the stupidity of grownups who should know better.

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