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‘How We Grow’

Aug 18, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 46 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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It was a big week in Washington for what blogger Steve Sailer puckishly refers to as World War T: Now that gay rights are utterly in the ascendant, the next Most Important Civil Rights Issue in History is transgender “rights.”

Tim Evanson

Tim Evanson

First, Capitol Hill’s Congressional Cemetery announced that it had finalized the design for a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender veterans memorial. Which is wonderful news—we respect and honor the service of all our veterans. But it does seem like an incredibly small interest group to memorialize. Because while the average American thinks that 24 percent of the population is homosexual (according a 2012 Gallup survey) the CDC’s most recent, large-scale study shows that only 1.6 percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian. The CDC study didn’t try to measure what percentage of the population is transgendered—that is, people who assert that they’re a woman in a man’s body, or vice versa—but it seems safe to assume that the number is undoubtedly much, much lower. But never mind that.

Transgender rights loom so large in the public mind today that at the American Psychological Association conference held at the D.C. convention center last week, visitors were greeted with a large placard explaining the location of not one, but three “gender neutral” restrooms, presumably to accommodate those who felt uncomfortable using gendered facilities.

But that was mere preamble to the biggest news in town: As Mary Hasson reported in the Federalist, parents of children who attend Janney Elementary School in Northwest Washington received an email from principal Norah Lycknell with some exciting news: Over the summer, a third-grade “writing inclusion” teacher, Robert Reuter, had decided that he was really a woman. Come September, Reuter will be returning to school as Rebecca Reuter. And Principal Lycknell wants to be sure that parents are appropriately preparing their children.

According to the principal, Reuter’s announcement is a sign “that our values around equity and inclusion are strong and that we will embrace all opportunities to live those values, growing and learning as people living in an increasingly diverse and honest world.”

In preparation for diverse and honest living, the school suggested that parents consult materials from the Human Rights Campaign (America’s largest gay-rights lobby) that explain the truth about sociological gender constructs. But the real work will come in the form of conversations with the children. Once the school year begins, the school “will host formal conversations with our fifth and third graders to reintroduce Ms. Reuter.” Which is why the administration feels it important that parents start the conversation at home:

We strongly recommend that all Janney families begin this discussion at home, providing space and time for our children to safely process what may be a previously unknown way of considering the gradients between sex and gender. .  .  .

We understand that many families may be approaching this conversation as new to the community or unfamiliar with Ms. Reuter. Still, it is important for us all to engage in this dialogue. It will prepare our children for discussions that may arise with their peers and, moreover, will help them broadly recognize gender as a continuum with many ways to express oneself as a person. 

We’ve obviously traveled a long way from Heather Has Two Mommies. But it’s all part of the same political project of redefining the human self as infinitely plastic. Lest there be any doubt that Janney Elementary sees Reuter as part of a broader campaign, Lycknell ends her five-page email by proclaiming, “While we are so grateful to Ms. Reuter for her story and for prompting us to host these conversations, they extend far beyond the experiences of one individual. Therefore this conversation is placed in the larger context of who we are and how we grow as a community.”

It’s hard to tell what’s more depressing: the fact that Janney is a public school, meaning that taxpayers are now being forced to subsidize a lobbying campaign disguised as a curriculum. Or the specter of what will come next in our “growth as a community” once the transgender revolution is complete.

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