Schools in Washington D.C. just announced that next year’s enrollment form will allow parents to choose between three “gender” options for their child: male, female or “non-binary.” One activist, quoted in The New York Times, says that doesn’t go far enough, arguing, “Kids should be able to have the agency and the freedom to define themselves and have that respected, especially if there is no support for them at home.”
Gender activists claim there are not just two sexes, but a multitude of genders, and that individuals can move between the two sexes. Transgenderism is being integrated in our education system from coast to coast – not just in the more liberal places that you might expect.
Sadly this ideology is having egregious consequences for students, teachers and parents – from pre-schools to graduate programs. Here are four stories that show the negative impact of this movement on free speech, religious freedom, parental rights and an individual’s right to privacy and safety:
- Two middle school P.E. teachers objected when a Florida school board told them they must allow a girl who identifies as male to undress, change and shower with boys. Acomplaint letter sent from Liberty Counsel to Pasco County School Board says that the young girl “walked in, catching boys (literally) with their pants down.” One teacher, Robert O., objected to supervising a minor girl while she dressed and undressed in the locker room. Both teachers were forbidden from discussing the issue with students, and school administrators have told Robert he will be disciplined by being transferred to another school.
- Dr. Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio, was punished by university officials when he refused to refer to a male student as “ma’am” or with a female title such as “Miss.” The student berated Meriwether and filed a complaint with the school. After one official mocked his Christian faith, university officials then said the professor “created a hostile environment” for the student and placed a warning in Meriwether’s personnel file. The Alliance Defending Freedom(ADF) has filed a federal lawsuit against the school.
- In a heartbreaking case in Georgia, a five-year-old girl was assaulted in the girl’s bathroom by a “gender fluid” boy. The City Schools of Decatur had implemented a policy allowing students who identify as the opposite sex to use restrooms, locker rooms and shower areas that align with their “gender identity,” rather than their biological reality. The girl’s mother, with the assistance of ADF, filed a complaintalleging that the school district’s policy opened the door for the attack. The Department of Education (DOE) is investigating the incident.
- A Christian student, Isabella Chow, at University of California-Berkeley is under fire because she abstained from voting for an Associated Students Senate resolution condemning the Trump administration and supporting transgender- and non-binary-identified students. Under the Obama administration, “sex discrimination” in various non-discrimination laws was redefined to include “gender discrimination” – and cover the wide variety of “genders” claimed by activists. Now, the Trump administration intends to return the definition of “sex” back to its meaning when these laws were passed by Congress: two sexes, male and female. In a graciously worded statement, Chow affirmed her belief in God’s creation of humanity as male and female. In a three hour student Senate meeting, LGBT-identified students and their allies attacked her faith and called for her resignation.
Our goal in writing about this isn’t to evoke fear or anger, but to educate and equip Christians to engage these issues with biblical grace and truth. It’s a difficult balance, but we encourage Christians to love those struggling with gender confusion while standing firm for important issues such as free speech, religious freedom, parental rights in education, and an individual’s right to privacy and safety.
To that end, here are a variety of Focus on the Family resources to help you respond to this growing issue in our education system:
- Equipping Parents to Respond to Gender-Confusing Messages in Schools – This free, downloadable resource gives guidance for parents when their children encounter gender-confusing messages in schools.
- Public Restrooms - Your Privacy and Safety - This series explains how all of us are affected by gender ideology and gives guidance about keeping you and your family safe in restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms.
- Transgender Resources – This web page lists every Focus on the Family resource dealing with this subject, including encouraging resources for individuals struggling with their sense of gender identity.
- When Transgenderism Enters Your World – This downloadable resource explains the basics of this difficult topic and offers guidance for dealing with three scenarios where a family might encounter transgenderism.