jasonbwatson

September 26, 2014

Misguided

This post contains explicit content that may be offensive to some readers. Reader discretion is advised.

Today I came across an article posted this past Wednesday on the web site of the Washington Times entitled “Las Vegas schools consider teaching kindergartners about masturbation, homosexuality.” I read the article and found it difficult to fathom that even in Las Vegas would a school board really think it was a good idea to pursue such a course. So from there I checked the web site of the Las Vegas Fox affiliate and found that they had posted a story on Tuesday called “School district considering big changes to sex ed curriculum.” Some of the information there was quite similar to the Washington Times piece, prompting me to think either it’s true or there is still more to the story that is being overlooked because it would be less sensational. So I decided to go straight to the source, so to speak, because the Fox story mentioned the following: “Some changes the school board may consider are outlined [in] a 112-page document called Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education, which was put together by a national task force of educators and health experts.” I assumed such a report would be easy to locate and I found, within just a few keystrokes, that I was right. The document is available on siecus.org, the site of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. Much to my amazement, the document has a copyright date of 2004, which caused me to think right away that either no other school district is using these recommendations or the assertions about what the curriculum would teach kindergartners was inaccurate. So I determined to find out.

Along the way, I found some interesting things, none of which were encouraging. First, this report already contained, ten years ago, guidelines for teaching adolescents that some babies are born with genitals that do not match their chromosomes, which is basically another way of saying that some people are born transgendered. This is a means of supporting the rapidly-growing transgender movement in the United States which I have addressed elsewhere. The September 2014 issue of High School Today, the publication of the National Federation of State High School Associations, includes an article entitled “Developing Policies for Transgender Students on High School Teams.” The thrust of that article can be understood with these two sentences: “It is important for policy-makers to understand that transgender girls (who were assigned a male gender at birth) are not boys. Their consistent and affirmed identity as girls is as deep-seated as the gender identity of non-transgender girls.” This is what the guidelines I read through are teaching as well.

I read on. One of the developmental messages recommended by the guidelines for children at Level 1 (which the guidelines define as middle childhood, ages 5-8) is this: “Vaginal intercourse – when a penis is placed inside a vagina – is the most common way for a sperm
and egg to join” (p. 26). While this is true, do I want it being taught to my kindergarten student? Absolutely not.

One of the developmental messages for Level 2 children in the topic of reproduction is this: “Sperm determine the biological sex of the fetus.” Sounds safe, perhaps, but notice what it is really saying–the “biological sex” means that ones gender and biological sex are not necessarily the same, which means that, again, this guideline is paving the way for teaching transgenderism to students. And while the transgender message described above was for adolescents (ages 15-18) this one is recommended for Level 2, ages 9-12. Upper elementary school, in other words.

To be fair, the guidelines include some very good points about Body Image. Level 1, for example, includes this: “All bodies are equally special, including those that are disabled.” Level 2 includes, “Most people do not look like what the media portrays as beautiful” and this: “The value of a person is not determined by his/her appearance.” “The media portrays beauty as a narrow and limited idea but beautiful people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities” is a Level 3 message (ages 12-15).

But then it gets worse, again, because the next section/topic is Sexual Orientation. The Level 1 messages include teaching that people can be attracted to people of the opposite gender or of the same gender and that homosexuals are all called gay men and lesbians. At Level 2 the guidelines expand on heterosexual and homosexual to provide instruction about bisexuals, as well as this statement: “The origin of people’s sexual orientation is not known.” Really? Quite the worldview being assumed there…but at least it is relatively vague. That changes at Level 3, when one of the messages is this: “People do not choose their sexual orientation.” Level 3 also includes this message–“Many scientific theories have concluded that sexual orientation cannot be changed by therapy or medicine”–without any inclusion of the fact that there are also scientific theories which conclude that sexual orientation indeed can be changed.

The sexual orientation discussion gets very interesting at Level 4, though. For example, one of the messages is this: “Sexual orientation is determined by a combination of a person’s attractions, fantasies, and sexual behaviors.” This is interesting because we see a progression. At Level 2 students are told we don’t know where orientation comes from. At Level 3 they are told that, wherever it comes from, it is not a choice. And now, at Level 4, they are told, “this is where it comes from.” This is, to me, evidence of the tenuousness of the position, because if there were certain of where it comes from it would make absolutely no sense to develop curriculum guidelines that include telling elementary students “we do not know something” and then simultaneously include telling high schoolers, “we do know, and here it is.” This is akin to telling elementary students “Santa Claus is real” then telling them later “actually, he’s not.” If it were accurate, this would be prescribed lying. Since it is not accurate, it is simply a program for gradually preparing students to accept something that is not true.

Interestingly, though, Level 4 also includes this message: “The understanding and identification of one’s sexual orientation may change over the course of his/her lifetime.” Really? I agree with that, but here is why it is so interesting. If the identification and understanding of one’s sexual orientation can change that means that one’s sexual orientation can change, too–which means, quite simply, that sexual orientation is a choice.

Sadly, the final message in this section for Level 4 is this: “Civil rights for gay men and lesbian women are being debated in many states and communities across the United States.” As I have explained in this space on numerous occasions, homosexuality is not a civil rights issue. By teaching students that it is, though, we would be prepping them to approve the “equal rights” that homosexuals are increasingly demanding.

Well, the guideline is 112 pages long and, as of the paragraph above, I am only through page 31, so unless I want to bore you to tears I better get to the point and tell you whether or not the guidelines really do teach kindergarten students about masturbation. After all, that was launched this quest in the first place.

Sexual Behavior is Key Concept 4 in the guidelines. The developmental messages for Topic 1, Level 1 of Key Concept 4 are only two: “Most children are curious about their bodies” and “Bodies can feel good when touched.” Both of these statements are true and do not, explicitly, teach masturbation. I still would not want the school teaching my child this, but it is not as horrific as the reports made out. So I am relaxing a bit. But then I go to the next page. Topic 2 of Concept 4 is called, simply, Masturbation, and the developmental messages for Level 1 are as follows: “(1) Touching and rubbing one’s own genitals to feel good is called masturbation; (2) Some boys and girls masturbate and others do not; and (3) Masturbation should be done in a private place.” So there it is. The results are unmistakable and unavoidable–these standards do, in fact, advocate teaching kindergarten students what masturbation is and where it should be done.

Oddly enough, Topic 4, on Sexual Abstinence, does not include any developmental messages for Level 1, and includes this for Level 2: “Children are not physically or emotionally ready for sexual intercourse and other sexual behaviors.” Realize, please, what that means. It means that teachers are asked to explain to children ages 5-8 what masturbation is, but are not supposed to tell them until ages 9-12 that they are not mature enough, physically or emotionally, to engage in such behavior. And this makes sense how?

The information addressed here should cause real alarm among parents. True, in this instance we’re talking about Las Vegas, but it will not stay there. This report has been out for ten years, and it is from a national organization. This is simply the beginning of the path that public schools will soon be taking if we do not take a stand and say “No, you’re not teaching that to my child.” In fact, while we cannot and should not dictate what parents teach their own children, we should take a stand and say to schools, “You’re not teaching that to any child.”

May 3, 2013

How do you feel?

Another element of that slippery slope I seem to talk about here so frequently is the matter of “gender identity.” It used to be that we would hear occasionally about individuals who had had sex change operations, or about crossdressers. I think the first time I ever heard of any such thing was when I saw the movie Crocodile Dundee II, and there is a scene in which someone who appears to be a woman is actually a man. I was a teenager by the time I saw that movie. Granted, I grew up in a Christian home and may have lived a somewhat sheltered life, but the entire concept was foreign to me. Now, just 25 years after Crocodile Dundee came out, the issue has gone far beyond crossdressing and sex change surgeries.

So what is gender identity anyway? Dictionary.com defines it this way: “a person’s inner sense of being male or female, usually developed during early childhood as a result of parental rearing practices and societal influences and strengthened during puberty by hormonal changes.” Notice that this definition says nothing about anatomy; gender identity has to do with whether one feels make or female.

The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has a not-as-yet-officially-launched entity under its umbrella called the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and HIV Prevention, led by Dr. Rob Garofalo. According to a March 23 article in WORLD Magazine the clinic has already “treated about 25 patients.” One of those patients was a child younger than nine who began “wearing dresses, identifying as a girl, and struggling with anxiety.” According to the article, the clinic is “one of a handful of children’s gender identity clinics to spring up in the United States over the past six years. These clinics provide psychological counseling intended to help children choose whatever gender they feel is best, and offer hormonal treatments to delay the onset of puberty.”

A couple of things jump out from those sentences.

First, recall the uproar in recent months in California and other places where there are efforts underway to ban counseling for individuals who want to overcome homosexual thoughts. Reparative therapy, as it is called, is just about guaranteed to fail, according to the powers that be in California, and also to cause stress and depression in those undergoing such counseling, despite the fact that it is only done at the request of the individual being treated. So while California has passed a law banning “anyone under the age of 18 from receiving licensed counseling that in any way steers them away from same-sex attraction, including away from sexual acts,” (according to an article in the Washington Times), it is perfectly fine to provide counseling and even hormone treatment for children who just are not sure whether they want to be boys or girls? And no one sees any contradiction here? There is plenty of debate over the idea that some people are “born” homosexual. There is, however, no debate over the fact that people are born male or female; it is obvious at birth (often even before birth with today’s sonogram technology) and the sex of every child is on their birth certificate! So, just to be sure we are clear, it is not acceptable–and indeed California wants to make it illegal–for a professional counselor, upon request of the counselee, to provide treatment to help someone who is struggling with homosexual thoughts to overcome those thoughts, yet it is perfectly fine for a therapist to help a child decide whether he/she feels like being a boy/girl, and even for a doctor to provide hormone treatment to prevent the child’s body from doing what it was designed to do.

Second, notice the important word “feels.” The counseling in these gender identity clinics is designed to help children determine which gender feels the best. So if someone is born a boy but feels like being a girl, we should both encourage and allow that. (But if someone feels homosexual tendencies and does not want to, we must not discourage them or help them overcome those desires!) We must be extremely careful of creating a world where we both encourage and allow people to do what they “feel is best.” If we remove absolutes and standards and facts and leave it all up to whatever anyone feels is best we will soon have complete and utter chaos. Notice, though, too, that those who encourage this “whatever feels best” attitude toward gender identity are the same ones who want to shut up anyone who takes the opposition position, presumably even when that “feels best” to them.

The WORLD article goes on to point out that the website for the Gender Management Service Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital says that its doctors “help children cope with the disconnect they may feel between the body and gender they were born with. … Therefore, we try to help them develop a body that is consistent with their identity.” For the record, there can not be many things more absolutely clear than whether someone is born male or female. we are in trouble when we start encouraging and allowing that disconnect between anatomy and gender identity.

The WORLD article concludes with the statement that “children’s feelings aren’t a reliable guide for deciding on life-altering treatments, though: studies show many kids who question their gender stop doing so after puberty.” Quite frankly children’s feelings are not a reliable guide for much of anything; that is part of the growing up process–the development of preferences and likes/dislikes and so on. I cannot think of any other area in which children are permitted to voluntarily make permanent or life-altering decisions; why in the world would we allow it with something so significant as one’s body?

This is not just an academic discussion, either. A colleague in another Christian school (in California, as it happens) recently shared this: “Our middle school is part of a sports league for small private schools–some Christian, some secular. One of these secular schools has just announced that they have an eleven year boy who believes that he is a girl. The parents and the school have decided to support the child’s feelings by allowing him to dress in girls’ clothes and use the girls’ bathrooms.” This creates all kinds of challenges for this school. Surely the Christian school has policies preventing boys from dressing in girls clothes or from wearing make up. Surely boys are not allowed to use a girls restroom–and I am confident the girls and the parents of the girls very much prefer it that way! But this boy has decided that being a girl “feels best.” I do not know what the outcome in that situation will be, but I hope that school stands its ground, even if it means leaving the sports league as a result. We cannot allow the whims and feelings of a few people to alter the Truth of God’s Word or to dictate our obedience to His Word. The rights of a very small minority cannot trample the rights of a vast majority.

What we need is someone with a backbone to look this boy in the eye, or anyone else who feels as he does, and say, “You are a boy. You were born a boy, God made you a boy, and whether you feel like it or not, you are a boy. When you become an adult, if you want to wear a skirt or put on make up, you go right ahead. Until then, you will dress like a boy and be treated like a boy. And when you’re an adult, we’re still going to call you a male and treat you like a male whether you feel like one or dress like one or not. You can call yourself a girl, you can dress like a girl, you can act like a girl, you can even claim to be a girl. But guess what? You’re a boy.”

One last thought…. We must, as always, be careful where this road will take us. If gender identity becomes a choice, why not species identity? Suppose someone says they feel best as a dog or a monkey or a platypus? Shall we allow that? What about national identity? Suppose someone says they feel like their Egyptian despite the fact that they’re Canadian, or they feel Australian even though they’re Chinese? Racial identity? If I feel black does that mean I am, even though I am obviously white? What about age identity? I hear people all the time say they don’t feel their age. Suppose a 38 year old says she feels 16. Do we let her enroll in high school, play on the school volleyball team, be claimed as a dependent on her parent’s tax returns? Silly examples all, but they are the logical conclusions of letting people make decisions that have always been determined by birth based on how they feel.

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