The Illinois Family Institute (IFI), a designated anti-LGBT “hate group,” thought it was successful when it opposed East Aurora School District’s transgender-inclusive policy and the district then rescinded the measure. But now that the district has formed a new committee to readdress what would be best for trans students, IFI’s Laurie Higgins is livid. Higgins has posted an epic screed against the effort, blatantly attacking trans members of the committee as “two adult cross-dressing males who wish they were women” and encouraging bullying of transgender — what IFI calls “gender-confused” — students.
Before delving into IFI’s epic tirade of bigotry, let it be noted here that mental health professionals agree that the best therapy for young people questioning their gender identity is to affirm them, including with social recognition (pronouns, name choice, etc.) and a non-discrimination environment. Gender identity is a separate experience from biological sex, and like sexual orientation, it is not chosen, however biologically invisible it may (yet) be. To not respect an individual’s identity is to reject it, and to encourage such rejection is to promote bullying and discrimination. That is exactly IFI’s intention. Here are a few excerpts:
This policy would inappropriately mandate that teachers use pronouns that correspond to a student’s “gender identity” as opposed to his or her objective biological sex. The reason teachers should not be compelled to use pronouns that don’t correspond to a student’s biological sex is that requiring them to do so means requiring them to participate in a fiction. Students who suffer from gender dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder (as opposed to intersex conditions) have an objective biological sex. No student, teacher, or administrator should be compelled to treat objective reality as if it doesn’t exist. The government has no ethical right to compel people to participate in a lie. [...]
Any teacher who believes rejecting a student’s identity is somehow going to help that student feel more connected to the learning experience should not be teaching.
The fact that boys or girls don’t choose to experience gender confusion doesnot mean that such feelings are normal or good. And it certainly does not mean that society must affirm their feelings or accommodate every behavior that such feelings impel. There is another psychological disorder analogous to gender dysphoria called Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) in which sufferers identify with amputees and seek to have their bodies correspond to their self-conception through elective amputation of healthy body parts. To be intellectually consistent, would supporters of this gender-confusion policy argue that schools should accommodate the desire of anatomically whole students to use a wheel chair and the elevators intended for disabled students?
The reason the American Psychiatric Association is declassifying gender dysphoria as a disorder is because it is in no way “analogous” to such disorders. This comparison is offensive and demonstrate not only that IFI does not understand anything about transgender identities, but that it intentionally opposes an understanding of transgender identities.
Such a policy would teach students that in order to be kind, compassionate, and inclusive of those who experience gender confusion, they have to affirm those troubled peers’ impulses and ideas. In reality, neither love nor inclusivity requires affirmation and accommodation of every feeling, impulse, belief, or behavioral choice of every student in a school. Real love as well as commitments to morality, objective reality, and public order put limits on what schools can and should affirm and accommodate. And real love depends first on knowing what is true.
Here, Higgins is directly encouraging bullying. There is no “kind, compassionate and inclusive” way of telling a person that their identity exists outside of “morality, objective reality, and public order.” Such messages promote quite the opposite sentiment.
The Aurora community should demand that only Aurora community members may serve on the committee, and at the next election, they should get rid of any school board member who supports any “transgender” policy.
It is unclear if Higgins is even concerned if IFI is advocating on behalf of anybody. Her claims that cisgender (non-trans) students might get uncomfortable in the bathroom around a trans student — a consequence of being similarly misinformed about trans identities — are weak. They are no more substantive than arguments that white customers might feel uncomfortable with black customers at a lunch counter. IFI has a vendetta that is both political and personal, and such perspectives have no role to play when the goal is a safe school with an efficient learning environment. (HT: Friendly Atheist.)