By Betsy McCaughey
Militant transgender advocates are imposing their agenda with uncompromising zeal on public school students.
That’s fine with President Joe Biden. On Friday, the Biden administration announced that, by April, it will enhance the legal entitlements of transgender public school students, with new guarantees regarding access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports competitions.
These issues are grabbing the headlines, but they’re less harmful to most students than the damage being done by the distortion of the school curriculum. Children as young as 5 are being encouraged to disregard their anatomy and choose their gender based on their feelings.
Last week, a California mother raged at her local Spreckels Union School District board for allowing teachers to coach her 12-year-old daughter on becoming a boy, choosing a boy’s name, and hiding the plan from the family.
A book offered in school libraries for ages 4 to 8 reads, “This is Ruthie. She is a transgender girl. That means when she was born everyone thought she was a boy. Until she grew a little older — old enough to tell everyone that she’s actually a girl. ”
Gender dysphoria, a rare medical condition that makes people feel mismatched with their sexual anatomy, occurs in about 0.6% of the adult population, according to current data from the Williams Institute. Anyone afflicted should be treated with kindness and offered medical help.
It first appears in childhood, but so few children are affected that the curriculum should not be distorted for everyone. Elementary school teachers are putting words such as nonbinary and transgender on the blackboard, even before kids have learned multiplication.
But the Maine Department of Education reports that between 13% and 18% of public high school students say they’re “lesbian, gay, bisexual, or unsure” of their gender. It’s no wonder when the curriculum programs them to doubt their identity. In school, it’s cool to be anything but heterosexual.
Maine requires public school teachers to explore the achievements of LGBTQ+ individuals, not just in health class but also in history and social studies. That’s indoctrination, since teachers are not asked to do the same for the celibate, for example.
This indoctrination offends many Christian and Jewish parents. Most Christians say that whether someone is a man or woman is determined by their sex at birth, according to Pew Foundation research, while agnostics and atheists are more likely to go along with gender ideology. In a document called “Male and Female He Created Them,” the Vatican rejects gender ideology.
Public schools shouldn’t be taking sides. But in Maine, and many other states, they are.
On Dec. 8, as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case involving Maine’s public schools, Maine Attorney General Christopher Taub insisted that they’re “religiously neutral.” That’s a laugh.
Justice Samuel Alito was skeptical, asking Taub if he’d say that about schools that teach critical race theory. Taub ducked the question. Alito would have been even more on the mark asking about Maine’s transgender curriculum. It’s the left’s new religion, and there’s nothing neutral about it.
Betsy McCaughey is the former Lt. Gov. of New York.