A school in California was in the news this week for teaching kindergarten children gender identity ideology in support of a pupil who was ‘transitioning,’ leading to complaints from parents of distressed children who understandably became frightened that they might change sex too.
The latest episode in this story involved a little girl who called the transgender-identified child by his boy’s name when she saw him in the playground and was subsequently taken to the principal’s office for a grilling which lasted ‘about an hour.’ This is an extraordinarily long time for a little girl of this age to be interrogated, way beyond any normal response to even serious misbehaviour.
When anyone changes their name it takes time for people to remember the new name and stop calling them the old, familiar one. Making a mistake by calling someone their previous name is not a crime, it it usual – more so obviously in the case of a little child. But when the child mis-named is ‘transgender’ it becomes a political matter and the school must be seen to be taking it seriously, no matter how traumatising the impact on a little girl who has made an innocent mistake.
Parents had already been informed that students have the “right to the use of his or her preferred pronoun at school and in class” through a PowerPoint presentation by the school board’s legal counsel. The book ‘I Am Jazz’ was read out to the children, to teach them the concept of “a girl’s brain in a boy’s body,” proved in this case by Jazz’s love of “pink and dressing up as a mermaid.” It is inconceivable that schools would teach children that a child has a ‘Black brain’ evidenced by their ‘love of baseball and soul music’, but the introduction of sexist gender essentialism into the curriculum is not questioned when it is demanded by the parents of a ‘trans’ child. Parents in these cases typically become trans activist campaigners on behalf of their child and ‘trans kids’ themselves are encouraged to know and assert their rights; an intrinsic part of the trans identity is to take the role of pioneering crusader for the whole community.
The ‘transgender child’ therefore gains special privileges over other children: the right to affirmation by others that their self-identity is a material reality, the right to impose their belief on others and dictate their language, the right to force others to disown knowledge of biological reality and support a new definition of ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ as subjective feeling states. The ‘transgender child’ is given special status and extraordinary power over the other children.
It is hard to know what the impact will be on such young children of being told that a boy is now a girl. Four year-olds are still at the ‘magical thinking’ stage of development and children at this age are rigorously policing gender stereotypes of behaviour and appearance amongst themselves, fueled by toy and clothing industries which enforce a rigid gender divide from birth onwards. Individual children will react differently, but all will respond from a state of childhood unconsciousness: in other words without full self-awareness of their reactions or the reasons for them.
According to reports, the little boy ‘unveiled’ his new identity by entering the room in a change of clothes and with a new name. If this is all it takes to be a ‘girl’ how are little girls to understand themselves now? Will they dare to wear trousers again, or will they insist on dresses to reassure themselves that they are still girls; will wearing trousers make a girl less of a girl than the boy who wears dresses? Will it even change her into a boy? This is serious conjecture: after all, trusted adults are giving all little girls the message that they are nothing more than a costume change for boys.
Ultimately a 4 year-old boy has been given the right to define what a girl is. If biological sex is no longer the distinction between boys and girls, then it must be some other essential definable quality: what is it? Will the girls start to look to this boy to learn what a ‘real girl’ is, now that their female biology has been deemed not only ‘not enough’ but totally irrelevant in determining whether they are girls? The girls’ understanding of themselves as girls has been shattered, they must now look for clues to find out what characteristics they need to be a ‘proper girl’ and the obvious go-to expert is a boy. A boy who has become the most special ‘girl’ in the class.
Will the boys meanwhile feel relieved that this boy has been pronounced a ‘girl’ as that doesn’t threaten their sense of masculinity or invalidate all the messages they’ve received since birth about what it means to be a boy? Will they increase their ‘macho’ posturing and feel even more afraid to admit to any ‘girly’ interests?
Children generally believe what adults tell them (although one mother in this story proudly interprets her son’s natural naive trust as proof that he has “no prejudice in his body”) But other children will sense that something is wrong, they know when adults are lying. They might not understand where their confusion and discomfort is coming from so they may construct stories to explain it, possibly blaming themselves.
Other children, no doubt cheered on by proud parents, will become mini trans activists, policing the language of their classmates through the unconscious absorption of the idea that naming reality is bigotry.
The little boy himself, affirmed every day as a girl, is on a path which will lead to fear of the ‘wrong’ puberty, solvable only by the administration of puberty blockers, almost inevitably followed by cross-sex hormone treatments to fix his 4 year-old identity in place for life. He will be denied the experience of growing up and developing sexually in his own unaltered body, along with the chance to grow naturally into the effeminate gay man he was overwhelmingly likely to become if left alone.
The fact that ‘gender identity’ can be taught in kindergarten because it is not part of ‘sex education’ leads in reality to the situation where children are taught about sex-change before they are taught about sex. To say that a boy is really a girl has nothing to do with ‘diversity’ or ‘gender expression,’ there is no adult in this story who is allowing a boy to be ‘gender expansive’ and making sure he doesn’t get bullied for it.
Contrast this story with another this week from a school in Brooklyn, New York, where a five year-old boy called Leo who loves pink and Barbies and likes to wear dresses, without claiming to be a ‘girl,’ was met not with support, but hostility and suspicion. The parents of this little boy did not get their suggested books read out to children in class. The principal, Eve Litwack, reportedly said that “it would be easier” if Leo were transgender, unwittingly revealing what has to be a reason behind the overwhelming support for the transitioning of children: the discomfort of adults when a child breaks out of his or her ‘gender’ box.
We have to ask why there is no human rights crusade behind little boys who are truly challenging gender stereotypes, while we move heaven and earth to accommodate those who ‘identify’ as girls, even to the extent that we will teach children a lie.
We can expect to see more and more of these cases in schools of children being cautioned on suspicion of recognising biological reality. What we can’t predict is the psychological impact on children of being taught that being a boy or a girl is all in your head. Will children lose trust in their own perceptions of reality altogether? We have no idea because we’ve never done this to children before.