Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Church of England has issued sensible guidance on gender and the Washington Times is displeased

Cheryl K. Chumley
My brain has diminished capacity after watching Jeff Sessions feign senility for a few hours. With the brain cells that remain I see that the Washington Times is running with “Church of England tells schools to let kids experiment with genders.” The author of this tantrum is Cheryl K. Chumley who seems to be burnishing her crank credentials. According to Chumley:
The Church of England sent a somewhat shocking message to schools around the country, telling administrators they ought to let students try out different genders.

The new suggested anti-bully policy? Let the boys be girls, if they want; the girls, be boys.

This won’t cause any confusion, now will it? (Insert sarcastic tone here).
That is pretty obnoxious. Chumley dismisses the fact that a small percentage of students are gender nonconforming or transgender. They are not volunteers and Chumley should not be provoking the kind of ridicule and bullying that the Church is trying to stop. And, no. This will not cause any confusion. Confusion seems to reside with Ms. Chumley who willfully misunderstands the concept of gender.

Chumley is profoundly incurious. Rather than referring to the source report, which is titled Valuing all of God's Children, she relies on a piece at Breitbart. What could possibly go wrong from that?
“Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing-up box),” the latest church advice on anti-bullying measures states, Breitbart noted.

There are about 4,700 schools serving a million-plus students to be affected by the advisement.

“Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision,” the memo goes on. “For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the fireman’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment.”
Chumley doesn't seem to realize that the Church is updating guidance issued in May, 2014. Just to put this in greater context, according to the report:
… homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT)4 bullying and language is still prevalent in schools. There is still work to be done … Church schools must do all they can to ensure that all children, particularly those who may identify as, or are perceived to be, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender are kept safe and can flourish.
Chumley's first quote is correct but grossly out of context which changes the meaning considerably. Chumley/Breitbart give the impression that this is about gender identity and that “play” refers to experimentation with gender. In fact play refers to, well, childhood play. Furthermore, this is on page 24 of a 52 page report. All of the supporting reasoning is ignored. Chumley intentionally breaks up the quote, giving the impression that she is quoting two separate parts of the report. The full passage, including the necessary first sentence reads:
In the early years context and throughout primary school, play should be a hallmark of creative exploration. Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing up box). Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision. For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the firefighter’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment. Childhood has a sacred space for creative self-imagining.
That paragraph would be supported by every mainstream pediatric, mental health and counseling professional organization in this country.

Chumley does this again; intentionally taking a quote out of context:
“Children should be afforded freedom from the expectation of permanence,” the church statement continues, Breitbart reported. “They are in a ‘trying on’ stage of life, and not yet adult and so no labels need to be fixed.”
The full paragraph reads:
Children should be afforded freedom from the expectation of permanence.They are in a ‘trying on’ stage of life, and not yet adult and so no labels need to be fixed. This should inform the language teachers use when they comment, praise or give instructions. It may be best to avoid labels and assumptions which deem children’s behaviour irregular, abnormal or problematic just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes or today’s play preferences.
Chumley then goes on the condemn the misleading, incomplete quote:
This is a recipe for disaster. It’s one thing for boys to play with dolls, free of criticism and mocking. It’s one thing for girls to prefer trucks and cars over Barbie’s — again, free of criticism and mocking. It’s another for whole policies to be developed that seem to play right into the messaging of the LGBTQ movement — the one that seeks to destroy all-things-traditional and to replace the idea of God-determined sexes with free human choice.
You just knew that Chumley's deity would be involved in this diatribe. Chumley's truncated version omits the fact that this is guidance for the language that teachers use in order to avoid inflicting bigotry on gender nonconforming kids. Contrary to Chumley's assertions (and understanding) gender nonconforming and trans kids do exist. There is no sinister LGBT agenda at work here and the idea that their existence "destroys" anything is just preposterously ignorant. She concludes her excursion into lunacy with:
Nobody wants to ban boys from wearing tutus during dress-up time, if that’s what the kid truly wants to do.

But letting boys think the wearing of tutus is a masculine choice is a breakdown of truths. That’s where the boundaries need to be drawn.

That’s where the rubber deceptions meet the honestly paved road.
That is so profoundly mis-characterized as to defy correction. It not only represents confusion regarding gender but would seemingly disregard the fact that gender as a construct even exists. It is painfully obvious that Ms. Chumley lacks the training and experience to offer opinion on such a complex — and vital — matter.

The bottom line is that there is no justification for treating gender nonconforming and trans kids with derision. Not accepting their sexuality will not change their sexuality. Not accepting their sexuality only does violence to vulnerable children and that is unacceptable in an advanced society.

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