On March 28, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Florida’s House Bill (HB) 1557, which disallows or limits schools from instructing children in certain sexual matters. The heart of the new law states, “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
The news was met in many quarters with histrionic outrage. The American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten groused that the law will “single out certain kids and families for derision and denigration. It is just wrong. Its intent is to divide our communities and make political hay, but it hurts children, hurts families and makes it hard for teachers to do their jobs.”
Hardly. It simply doesn’t allow teachers to discuss certain sexual identity issues with young children. Weingarten also inanely insisted that the law would shame “LGBTQIA+ people back into the closet by policing their identity.”
Following the signing of the bill, a gay teacher in Parish, Florida, creepily bemoaned the fact that he can’t talk about his love life with his kindergarteners anymore.
No one was more outraged than Joe Biden, however. On March 31 – the day that some celebrate as the “International Transgender Day of Visibility” – the president insisted that his administration is “standing up” for transgender Americans “against ‘hateful bills’ being passed at the state level” and assured them, “You’re so brave. You belong. And we have your back.”
To show that Biden is really, really serious about his stance, his administration’s Department of Health and Human Services raised the pink, white and blue striped “Transgender flag” at its D.C. headquarters.
Frighteningly, the Department of Justice got into the act, issuing a press release on the Transgender Day of Visibility in which it proclaims that it sent a letter to all state attorneys general “reminding them of federal constitutional and statutory provisions that protect transgender youth against discrimination, including when those youth seek gender-affirming care.” The missive advises states that laws and policies that prevent individuals from receiving gender-affirming medical care may infringe on federal constitutional protections under the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Not surprisingly, the word “parent” never once appeared in the document.
And California – of course – is doing what it can to maintain its reputation as the nation’s wackiest state. Democratic lawmakers are proposing to make California a haven for transgender youth and their parents who are fleeing other states. State Senator Scott Wiener said – apparently with a straight face – “They have a safe place to go if they’re threatened with prosecution. California will not be a party to this new wave of deadly L.G.B.T.Q. criminalization.”
It’s fascinating how a bill which doesn’t allow for sexual identity issues to be discussed in grades k-3 can morph into “deadly L.G.B.T.Q. criminalization.” How could the Babylon Bee possibly satirize this?
In fact, California is actually the anti-Florida, and has done much do disempower parents. To wit:
- AB 2119, which passed in September 2018, provides that the “rights of minors and nonminors in foster care…include the right to be involved in the development of case plan elements related to placement and gender affirming health care, with consideration of their gender identity.” At the time, the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) filed testimony against the bill, urging legislators to reject it. “Children with gender dysphoria believe they are not their biological sex,” the group’s March 2018 testimony read. “A delusion is a fixed false belief. This bill proposes that foster children with gender dysphoria be socially affirmed into their delusion, and allowed to obtain experimental puberty blockers, and dangerous cross-sex hormones and surgery without parental consent.”
- In September 2021, AB 1184, a bill cosponsored by Planned Parenthood, became law. As the California Family Council explains, this diktat “prohibits insurance companies from revealing to the policyholder the ‘sensitive services’ of anyone on their policy, including minor children (starting at age 12), even though the policy owner is financially responsible for the services.” The term “sensitive services” refers to all health care services related to mental or behavioral health, sexual and reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections, substance use disorder, gender affirming care, etc. The bill doesn’t detail the kindly sounding “gender affirming care,” but as defined by the University of California, San Francisco, it’s hormone therapy and a laundry list of surgeries including vaginectomy, scrotoplasty, voice modification, etc., ad nauseam.
- At a California Teachers Association conference in October 2021, teachers were advised on “best practices for subverting parents, conservative communities and school principals on issues of gender identity and sexual orientation.”
- The Los Angeles Unified School District’s Office of Human Relations, Equity and Diversity hosted a 10-week online club for LGBT elementary schoolers, including children as young as four years old in the fall of 2021.
And then there’s Disney, which is in a state of rage over the passage of Florida’s parental rights bill. As Christopher Rufo explains, Disney executives immediately organized a “Reimagine Tomorrow Conversation Series” meeting for its leaders and “pledged to mobilize the entire corporation in service of the “LGBTQIA+ community.” Those recruited included a “black, queer, and trans person,” a “bi-romantic asexual,” and “the mother [of] one transgender child and one pansexual child,” and “announced ambitious new initiatives—seeking to change everything from gender pronouns at the company’s theme parks to the sexual orientation of background characters in the company’s films.”
Also, speaking in blunt terms, Disney executive producer Latoya Raveneau laid out the company’s game plan. She said her team was implementing a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” and regularly “adding queerness” to children’s programming. Production coordinator Allen Martsch, said his team has created a “tracker” to ensure that “they are creating enough ‘canonical trans characters, canonical asexual characters, [and] canonical bisexual characters.’” Corporate president Karey Burke said she “supported having ‘many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories’ and reaffirmed the company’s pledge to make at least 50 percent of its on-screen characters sexual and racial minorities.”
The gender obsession has also extended to Disney’s theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando. Diversity and inclusion manager Vivian Ware explains that Disney made the decision last year to eliminate all mentions of “ladies,” “gentlemen,” “boys,” and “girls” in order to create “that magical moment” for children who do not identify with traditional gender roles.
It must be noted that Disney, whose name evokes warm and fuzzy images of Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Tinkerbell has been over the years the corporate equivalent of a heavy-breathing, sweaty guy in a trench coat lurking in a park. For example, a six-month investigation in 2014 revealed that “at least 35 Disney employees had been arrested for sex crimes against children, attempting to meet minors for sex, and possession of child pornography over the previous eight years.” Additionally, other Disney employees were found to have exhibited an abiding interest in kiddie porn on the internet.
The transgender movement is cultish, and can have dire consequences. Brown University physician and researcher Lisa Littman released a study in 2018, which showed that “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” in young people may be driven in part by “social and peer contagion.” She stresses that nearly 70 percent of the teenagers were involved with a peer group in which at least one friend had identified as transgender. In some groups, the majority had done so. Nearly 65 percent of teens had spent an increased amount of time online and on social media, and “parents reported that pro-transgender YouTube videos and blogs might have been influential.” It is unclear how many of the kids who have joined the cult took it to the next level and actually engaged in hormone blockers and self-mutilation.
In reality, “Sex is determined at conception by our DNA and is stamped into every cell of our bodies,” asserts Dr. Michelle Cretella, President of the American College of Pediatricians. “Human sexuality is binary. You either have a normal Y chromosome and develop into a male, or you don’t, and you will develop into a female. There are at least 6,500 genetic differences between men and women. Hormones and surgery cannot change this.” Nor can Disney, Joe Biden, Randi Weingarten or any other gender zealot.
The good news is that a poll taken in late March reveals that when Americans are presented with the actual language of the new Florida law, 61% are in favor, while just 26% oppose. Importantly, there is bipartisan support. Republicans are in favor by a 70%-23% margin, while Democrats support it by 55%-29%. And, indeed states are acting. Georgia lawmakers have already introduced a bill that would similarly restrict “classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity,” and other bills targeting related content in schools are pending in Indiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kansas. Hopefully, the other 44 states will get aboard soon.
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Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.