By Erin Weist
A Mother’s Perspective on Teaching the Dependability of Gender to Children
I’ve reviewed the literature: There are many conflicting studies—some purport transgenderism can be successful through social acceptance while others some that indicate gender dysphoria is a disorder of the mind (For extensive research on the subject please refer to this article from Family Research Council. Clicking on the pdf link at the bottom will list the nearly 150 references.)
I’ve seen the high profile cases of Bruce Jenner becoming a woman and the young boy Jazz Jennings who was thrust into the spotlight at age 6 for his desire to become a girl, gaining YouTube fame and a cable TV show.
I’ve also seen recent news stories like this one out of Rocklin, California, just outside of Sacramento. Many parents of kindergarten students were upset after a student brought in a book (one can assume, given to him by his parents) about being transgender and it was read to the class. The book, I Am Jazz, contains lines such as, “‘I have a girl brain but a boy body.’” One mother at a school board meeting following the reading of this book stated, “my daughter went home crying, shaking, so afraid that she could turn into a boy.”
Another article about the issue in Rocklin stated this about the school board: “Their concerns prompted the school to review its literary policy over the summer… District officials decided that the books that were read to the children were within the policy and did not require prior parental approval…in [a] letter to parents.” The article further states, “parents can only opt their children out of sex education, which does not include discussion on gender, sexual orientation or family life, according to the California Education Code.”
While I respect the right of individuals to believe this “gender philosophy,” there is absolutely no scientific evidence to verify it, let alone enough to teach this to school children—especially without parental consent. Even a site called “transkids” states: “No one knows why children like Jazz are transgender — there are only theories.” Because of this, gender dysphoria is still a highly controversial issue and as such, causes uproar between differing factions over what is appropriate at school.
I’ve read all of these—but I also have 5 children of my own. I’ve been through discussions with each of them about their biological sex, and their questions show that they are thinking but sometimes need clarification. I was reminded of the importance of parents on this issue when, after I had read these latest articles, my 4-year-old boy came to me out of the blue and asked, “Mom, would I ever turn into a girl someday?” I’ve asked him what he wants to be when he grows up and he always says, “a dad!” And because I know him so well, I could recognize the almost imperceptible hesitancy, the slight concern in his voice. Something probably no one but his dad & I would notice. I knew he was worried that someday he would turn into a girl and then he wouldn’t get to be a dad. I assured him that, no, he was a boy and would always be a boy, and that when he grew up, he’d still be a boy just like daddy. He didn’t cheer or make a big deal, he didn’t even really comment, he just said, “oh,” and relaxed his face. Then he processed it for a few seconds and changed the subject.
It was a profound moment for me to realize there are kids who are not taught this, and it could be incredibly scary for them. There are parents teaching their kids the opposite—that they might turn into a boy/girl someday—or even worse: “I don’t know” (which, honestly, is probably the most frightening for kids). It brought clarity that kids as young as 3 or 4 could worry themselves over such a simple biological truth; one that those who care for them should not be so careless about, should be able to verify with quick authority and put the matter to rest, easing a young, impressionable mind. This is such a simple foundation to give a child—a part of their understanding of the world: who they are, who they always will be, and their place in it. How can we expect this world to have good future mothers & fathers, parents to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren and so on, if kids grow up thinking their internal genetic makeup and characteristics are changeable rather than immutable? If children start with a shaky foundation, even a disrespect for the crucial differences between male & female, the effect could quite literally be catastrophic.
The best things parents can do is exactly what these parents did in Rocklin, California. Make your voices heard. Insist on better supervision of what is being taught to your children. Don’t back down under claims of “banned books” for Kindergarten students.
Most of all, talk with your kids regularly. Affirm to them their biological sex and its permanence. Encourage your boys to someday find a wife and become a father. Encourage your girls to find a husband and become a mother. Declare your joy of being a parent and that you can’t wait to see what kind of man or woman they will become. Give them a solid foundation; they will build on it for the rest of their lives.
(Note: To say that gender identity is not a sexual issue is a logical fallacy. Transgenderism falls under supposed “sexual rights” that are touched on in this former UFI post.)