What would have sounded completely unbelievable just 20 years ago is now law, thanks to California’s Gov. Jerry Brown: “Transgender students”—meaning children from K-12 who believe they are trapped in the wrong body—can “pick the restrooms they want to use, and the sports teams they want to play on, based on their gender identity.”
So, 6-year-old Sally, who is convinced she is actually Sam (without any scientific diagnosis that can prove this and, in fact, without any professional confirmation required by the school), can not only dress like a boy at school, she can also share the boys’ room with the other 6-year-old gents.
And 18-year-old Sam, who is convinced he is actually Sally, can not only come to school dressed as a girl and use the girls’ bathroom, he can play on the girls’ basketball team and use their locker room too.
I am not making this up.
Legislators passed this bill, and the governor signed it, yet even for California, this is hard to believe.
And remember: This is based entirely on the child’s self-perception.
That’s why, in recent years, male high school students have been voted prom queens and female high school students have been voted prom kings. As explained by a 16-year-old female student in 2010, “It’s not like the stereotype where the [prom] king has to be a jock and he’s there with the cheerleaders anymore. We live in a generation now where dudes are chicks and chicks are dudes.” (For documentation of this and the following quotes, see A Queer Thing Happened to America.)
And make no mistake about it. Desconstructing gender has long been a gay activist goal. As expressed by Barb Burdge, a lesbian activist and social work professor, “Challenging oppressive gender structures and making gender rights a priority are critical steps toward universal freedom from punishment for gender nonconformity.”
Because of this, Burdge calls upon all social workers to join forces and “challenge gender stereotyping unceasingly.” After all, many people don’t want to be trapped in the “gender binary” of male-female.
A psychologist recently wrote to me, noting that a colleague of his observed that his practice seemed “to be filling up with more folks who identify as genderqueer. These people have no intention of taking hormones or having surgery and often prefer the term ‘they’ as their preferred gender pronoun.”
But this shouldn’t surprise us in the least. Already in 2004, there was a children’s coloring book entitled Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Girls.
According to the book’s blurb, “The antithesis of the ‘Dick and Jane’ coloring book, this is a funny, playful and provocative deconstruction of traditional gender roles. The activist authors use drawings as well as images taken from old children’s books to show how completely silly and unnecessary most common gender assumptions are.”
And it’s already been nine years since the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)—which should actually be parsed as the Gay and Lesbian Sexual Education Network—introduced its teacher training manual called GLSEN Lunchbox 2, which included an exercise called “Getting in Touch With Your Inner Trannie” (i.e., inner transgender identity), where all the kids would have the opportunity to question their gender identity.
And it’s been 13 years since Patrick (originally Patricia) Califia-Rice wrote an article for the Village Voice entitled “Two Dads With a Difference—Neither of Us Was Born Male,” explaining, “We are transgendered men (female-to-male, or FTM). My boyfriend is the mother of my child.” (Chew on that one for a while.)
Now there is a camp where boys who want to dress up as girls (and vice versa) can join together with their peers, putting on makeup and nail polish and fancy dresses and engaging in fun little girl activities—all with the encouragement of their parents. (To be perfectly clear, I don’t question the love these parents have for their kids. I simply question their judgment.)
Last month, the media glowingly reported the budding romance between Arin Andrews, 17, and Katie Hill, 19, with Arin born female and Katie born male, both now in various stages of sex-change surgery (most recently renamed “gender alignment surgery”).
Today, in some states, these changes can be made retroactive to birth (I kid you not), so that, after sex-change surgery, the gender on your birth certificate is changed (almost like a sci-fi time tunnel of sorts).
What about investing funds and energy into getting to the root cause of these gender identity issues, trying to help these children and adults from the inside out? After all, it is well known that many “transgender children” simply outgrow their gender identity issues (which means playing into their childhood confusion only makes things worse), while others are tormented for life (witness people like Mike Penner, aka Christine Daniels, before returning to Mike Penner, then taking his life; or Don Ennis, then Dawn Ennis, now back to Don Ennis; or Walt Heyer, who after sex-change surgery realized he was really a man after all).
Sadly, even to talk about looking for an internal “cure” for gender identity issues is considered “transphobic,” a word that even made its way into an official statement from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the elite mixed-martial arts and combat sports organization better known for its blood and gore cage fights than for its political correctness.
All of which leads to the question: If this is where we are today, where will be 10 years from now?
Michael Brown is author of The Real Kosher Jesus and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.