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Transitioning Public Schools

Carl Trueman posts a letter he sent to his local Pennsylvania public school system [1], objecting to its plans to renovate its policies to make them more transgender-friendly. Excerpts:

While the issues it raises are clearly pressing, and while the welfare of all students, regardless of identity, has to be a priority, the proposed policy is conceptually incoherent. On the one hand, it asserts that a student’s asserted gender identity has to be accepted, and must not be questioned or disregarded by staff. Moreover, the only exception is if staff have a “credible basis” for believing the student is “improperly” asserting a gender identity, vague and undefined terms that are open to abuse. Yet, the policy also claims that a student’s transgender status may constitute confidential medical information that should not be disclosed to parents or others, suggesting it is a medical condition. Which is it?

Further, is the school really saying that it has the right, duty, and indeed the competence to hide a child’s identity from its parents? This is a breathtaking assertion of authority—to claim that the school has a greater right relative to a child’s identity than the parents who have raised him or her. It also creates a dangerous precedent: so long as the school district in its infinite wisdom decides that something is part of a child’s core identity, it grants to itself the right to exclude parents. This is remarkably open-ended and adversarial, pitting the school district against parents and scarcely conducive to cultivating co-operative school-parent relationships which are surely to be desired in a rounded education.

This is shocking. The school probably has to get parental permission to give a Tylenol to their kid, but it reserves the right to hide from parents whether or not their child is presenting himself as transgender at school? Really? (Yes, really; check the policy out for yourself [2].)

More from Carl Trueman’s protest letter to his local school board:

Under this policy, students must be allowed to participate in PE classes, intramural sports, and (to the extent consistent with PIAA regulations) interscholastic athletics consistent with their asserted gender identity. This approach is clearly going to have a detrimental effect on girls’/women’s competitions and in the long run will put those women who are born such and identify as such at a permanent competitive disadvantage (as indicated by the recent incoherent attempt to produce fair and consistent regulations for transgender Olympic competition while safeguarding competitiveness). My son, for example, ran track for the University of Pennsylvania where he was a moderately good middle distance runner. Were he to identify as a woman, he would currently hold the world mile record. This is a policy which is really very detrimental to women and the future of women’s sports.

Read the whole thing. [1] The policy also gives transgenders access to the locker room of their choice.

This is so radical as to have been unthinkable only the day before yesterday. And yet it’s happening in a quiet, old-fashioned Philadelphia suburb. I used to live right next to it. Gay is one thing, but transgender? Is it really the case that parents, especially parents of girls, don’t object? Do they agree with these policies, or do they just not care to complain? Feminists don’t care that biological males with greater body strength are putting biological women at a distinct disadvantage in athletic competition?

Are we really adopting policies so radical to accommodate only 0.03 percent of the population? Yes, we are. And here’s the thing: the Springfield Township School Board may well be against all this, but the U.S. Government, under the way the Obama Administration has decided to apply Title IX, is not giving them a choice.  [3]

I’m not exactly clear on the extent to which the feds are enforcing Title IX against public schools. I know the Department of Education has said that it considers transgenders protected under Title IX, and that this includes giving trans kids access to the locker room of their choice. But I don’t know the extent of this rule, and whether it now applies to athletics. Please enlighten me. This could well be the Springfield Township school board’s idea of both conforming to federal demands, and/or getting out ahead of what they know is coming.

Just so you know, this is what you get now when you elect Democrats to national office.


138 Comments (Open | Close)

138 Comments To "Transitioning Public Schools"

#1 Comment By Elijah On April 5, 2016 @ 7:12 am

“I think I can speak for most of the left when I say that transgender accommodations represent a radical departure from reality as we understand it, in a way that gay marriage did not.”

I am finding this to be true among a lot of younger people – high school and college – who are/were big supporters of gay marriage. One young woman, typically very pro-transgender, became decidedly neutral as she encountered ways in which the transgender movement collides with feminism.

#2 Comment By Sir On April 5, 2016 @ 7:20 am

“Accommodate, accommodate….” But no mention of treatment of the disorder. Psychiatrists/Psychologists, ironically, bear the majority of the responsibility for the insanity in this culture.

#3 Comment By Colin Vollebergh On April 5, 2016 @ 7:45 am

I live in a smaller city of 50 000 which vacilates locally between Liberal and Conservative parties depending on who is in power federally. We have no such legislation here.

My wife is from a neighbouring district compromised of several hamlets ranging from 100 to 3000 in population which has been staunchly conservative since Confederation. They have this kind of legislation with their school board.

On first blush it does appear crazy, and to be fair I do not support such legislation, but I think it recognizes that, medically speaking, children often grow out of such behaviours after puberty. The school is trying to take the stance of non-interference. Though failing. I personally think the school should provide reasonable accomodation after consulation with parents not before.

I also echo Siarlys on the locker room issue.

#4 Comment By TTT On April 5, 2016 @ 8:33 am

Are there any liberals/left leaning people who post here who think this is insane?

Yes. And it’s astounding to see within the space of one paragraph an SJW-type joke about “YesAllMen,” men being rapist scum who “mansplain” and “manspread” and something rape culture whatever, but then at the same time they sniff that men would NEVER EVER EVER lie for a day to see a lot of girls naked.

#5 Comment By dan On April 5, 2016 @ 8:42 am

“Are we really adopting policies so radical to accommodate only 0.03 percent of the population? Yes, we are.”

No, its not being done for trans people. Its not about people. Its an anti-person philosophy. Its about an idea.

#6 Comment By Patrick On April 5, 2016 @ 10:22 am

@ DancerGirl:

“I’d like to see alternative private spaces for everyone within locker rooms and bathrooms. If a trans kid wanted to use the bathroom/locker room that corresponded to his or her gender identity, he or she would be welcome to use the private space if he or she preferred.”

Wouldn’t that just re-enforce the fact that the trans kid isn’t “a real girl”, both for the kid himself and the entire community?

#7 Comment By kgasmart On April 5, 2016 @ 10:25 am

We’ve had at least forty years of cute female sports reporters interviewing naked men in locker rooms and showers and for the last thirty not a single peep from the guardians of the culture.

And how many male journalists do we have interviewing naked female athletes in the locker room?

Wake me when that happens, because then we’ll have actual “fairness”

#8 Comment By Jim Wise On April 5, 2016 @ 10:27 am

In 1920s in the USSR, there was no doubt a smug Jim Wise gloating that the reactionaries had already lost the fight for private property in factories, and were now going to lose it for private property in farms as well.

Yes, yes, in the internet-debate version of Warhol’s famous dictum, we all get to be Stalin (or Hitler) for fifteen minutes.

Except that the only kulaks being liquidated here are on the transgender side, where transgender teens face levels of violence far above their peers. Leaving the restroom question aside for a moment, the law Rod is now vigorously defending explicitly prevents any locality from trying to address this in law.

#9 Comment By Erdrick On April 5, 2016 @ 10:43 am

Pogonip says:
April 4, 2016 at 7:32 pm
I do wonder why our intellectual betters are suddenly so obsessed with “transgender.”. I usually surf the news over lunch, and it’s a rare day when I don’t see at least one item on this topic deemed sufficiently important as to be headline news. Thoughts on why?

As I said, I think it’s mostly just the sexual revolutionaries spiking the football. They built up this propaganda and legislative machinery to win the gay marriage fight, and now they’re using it to win the trans fight just because they can. Their opponents are too demoralized right now to stop them.

But I do think that there is a contingent amongst the rich and powerful TED talk tech set that wants to advance technological transhumanism. They want to create the legal and moral atmosphere that will allow them to pursue the cybernetics, genetic engineering, etc. that will allow them to do so. Transgenderism is a useful battering ram to break down the legal and cultural defenses against transhumanism.

#10 Comment By Erdrick On April 5, 2016 @ 10:58 am

David @ April 4, 2016 at 7:25 pm- Great post.

I agree that many will simply opt out of things rather than being subjected to the demands of the transgender activists. Overall, I think the imposition of the trans agenda will have a chilling effect on society. This is what the extremists want: [4]

We are supposed to deny reality and change social norms that work for 99%+ of the population just so a tiny fraction of the population can feel better about themselves. And that’s why the trans people are so militant. They demand that we no only tolerate them, but agree with them. Even calling someone a “transwoman” is not enough for many. We must call them women, full stop, because to do anything less shows that we don’t believe that they’re actually women inside- and they just can’t handle that.

The “transwomen are real women” line is the line I can’t cross. If that makes me a bigot, then so be it. Women are more than minds, and they’re more than bodies. Even if you could prove that a “transwoman” had a female brain, the still don’t have a female body and all the systems with it.

#11 Comment By Erdrick On April 5, 2016 @ 11:03 am

Dan Lo-Pan says:
April 4, 2016 at 10:56 pm
Someone is going to have a lot of fun with this. Probably a lot of someone’s. [sic]

A lot? More like ~1 in 3000. So a high school would need more than 33,000 students (assuming trans kids are half male and half female) to field a five person girls’ basketball team of biological males. Yeah, not a lot.

Right, because no boy (or his coach or his parents) would ever lie about feeling transgender in order to have the opportunity to get a college scholarship playing girl’s basketball or track. How hard is it to say “I’m a pre-op transgender lesbian who presents as a hetero cis-male.” What kind of bigot are you to question that person?

#12 Comment By Fran Macadam On April 5, 2016 @ 11:21 am

I’m trying to find the upside in this manifestation of the madness of crowds.

I guess maybe there’s something in this for folks who find to their horror they’ve accidentally entered the wrong gender restroom?

No? Oh well. Too much to hope for any sanity.

#13 Comment By Phaedria On April 5, 2016 @ 12:04 pm


No mention of the studies I sent you?

Still? Why?

How is this not a grand act of dishonesty on your part?

One can lie by (1) misrepresentation; and (2) omission. Aren’t you deceiving your readers by not at least mentioning the studies? Does the promotion of the Christian worldview rely on misrepresentation?

The studies may later turn out to be false or not true in the way we thought. Yet, in 2016, they are part of the totality of things to be weighed in determining whether the transgender claim to have brains with opposite sex features is true or false.

Alan (I can’t remember his last name–the literature professor at Baylor)–he wrote once, about readers who complain that such-and-such wasn’t considered in a column, “I’m thinking about it.” Are you thinking about it? How long does it take? You seem to post every passing whim, but not the simple fact that there is, at least currently, strong evidence against your position.


#14 Comment By Aaron On April 5, 2016 @ 12:04 pm

It’s fine if a men wants to use the girls locker room. The important thing is that nobody uses tobacco.

#15 Comment By Rossbach On April 5, 2016 @ 12:43 pm

Totalitarian political systems all use the state-controlled public school system to overrule, restrict, and regulate parental control of their children. That is how they protect themselves – by using state power to shrink the size of the reality-based community. And in societies increasingly dominated by “progressive” ideologues, such as ours, no one should ever underestimate the sweet tooth of the Left for totalitarian strategies.

#16 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 5, 2016 @ 1:49 pm

Phaedria: seeing as how Rod approved your post without comment, I decided to offer one myself.

No attempt to be civil, let alone phrase your “complaint” in polite language? How is this not a grand act of dishonesty on your part?

I’m one of the most prolific contributors to the comment threads on this blog. I can count on less than two full hands the number of times Rod has responded directly to me, out of hundreds of posts. I suggest, with true respect intended, that the moment you demand attention is the moment you are most likely to not receive it… speaking for myself only, of course.

Post the studies directly. No need to demand that Rod do it for you.

#17 Comment By Wes On April 5, 2016 @ 2:37 pm

Am very pleased my wife talked me into private school for our three.

#18 Comment By John On April 5, 2016 @ 2:41 pm

Well put Joys-R-Us. Well put.
I don’t think the pre-op transgendered should be mingled with anyone of either sex in settings where some degree of privacy is expected but don’t think we who are cisgendered should expect those who aren’t to live with the body of their birth.

#19 Comment By Special Sauce On April 5, 2016 @ 2:56 pm

KD says
“How are you going to chaperone teenagers on your trip to DC or whatever without fighting off a federal complaint because Johnny-Pervert decides he identified as a female and wants to sleep with the girls.

No, this isn’t a gift to gay rights and feminism, it is a gift to lawyers, representing either the victims of Johnny-Pervert, or defending Johnny-Pervert because he wasn’t allowed to sleep with the other girls. I see some big verdicts–and perhaps no more school trips for debate tournaments, etc.”

Doesn’t that make Johnny-Pervert a lesbian? This can get confusing.

#20 Comment By panda On April 5, 2016 @ 3:38 pm

“I’m a liberal who has supported gay rights since the late ’70’s but still believes same sex marriage is a civil matter and that the sacrament of matrimony is for a man and a woman in a covenant overseen by their church.

Um, you do realize that marriage is a sacrament only to one particular strand of Christianity, right?

#21 Comment By ARM On April 5, 2016 @ 5:06 pm

“One can lie by (1) misrepresentation; and (2) omission. Aren’t you deceiving your readers by not at least mentioning the studies? Does the promotion of the Christian worldview rely on misrepresentation?

The studies may later turn out to be false or not true in the way we thought. Yet, in 2016, they are part of the totality of things to be weighed in determining whether the transgender claim to have brains with opposite sex features is true or false. ”

Just curious – would these be the two studies that included a total of seven subjects and failed to control for the fact that the transgender subjects were taking estrogen, which affects the brain area in question?

#22 Comment By Isidore the Farmer On April 5, 2016 @ 5:14 pm

Phaedria (and Franklin),

I wholeheartedly second Franklin’s response to you on 4/5 at 1:49 pm. And I do so as someone who rarely agrees with Franklin on the cultural / political issues Rod blogs about (and I am sometimes quite passionate about my disagreement).

#23 Comment By Ian Greenwood On April 5, 2016 @ 6:00 pm

The body is of course gendered, but so it the mind. For 99.8% people both are aligned. In about 0.2% people they are not.

Since the mind is the seat of consciousness, and the soul, transgender people experience life as a different gender than their physical body. This is an undeniable fact.

You may consider providing transgender students simple accommodations as radical. It is still though, truly an act of Christian love.

#24 Comment By Joan On April 5, 2016 @ 10:50 pm

@Potato: These are mostly lesbians who have been hounded and persecuted for not being willing to have sex with their M>F “sisters,”

No, actually TERFS have been known to go much further than that. They wanted transwomen kept out of wimmin’s spaces, including the gigantic Michigan Women’s Music Festival, and other festivals and gatherings. There have also been huge fights between wimmin who wanted a pure wimmin’s space unsullied by the presence of any XY chromosome pairs at all and wimmin who had young sons and wouldn’t be able to afford the festival if they had to arrange child care instead of bringing their sons along.

The background here is that the radical feminist community is full of women with untreated PTSD from abuse by men, up to and including rape and attempted murder. They want to exclude men because they have learned to fear them deeply. The very sight and sound of a testosterone-built human body can trigger them the same way the sound of a balloon popping at a party can trigger a combat veteran who has PTSD from being shot at.

Personal story. For a while in the 1990s, I attended a weekly lesbian Al-Anon group held at a women’s center. After the formal meeting, I was chatting with some of my fellow Friends of Lois and found myself telling them about how valuable I had found John Bradshaw’s “On the Family” video series. Four of them wanted to see it, so I suggested that I could bring in a copy and we could watch it on the women’s center’s video equipment. Now theoretically, this women’s center’s endowment and charter called for its facilities to be made available to any group of women for any activity that was potentially beneficial to the community. We all expected that our activity of showing videos about the underlying psychology of families headed by alcoholics and other addicts would fall within this definition, just as the Al-Anon group did. However, the board of the women’s center turned us down because the sound of a man’s voice on the video might be triggering to others in the building.

When I was younger, I used to be massively irritated by this sort of thing. Now I understand that the women doing it are not doing it for frivolous reasons. I am a relatively undamaged human being. It’s on me to have compassion for those who aren’t.

#25 Comment By Joan On April 5, 2016 @ 11:02 pm

@Erdrick: I think it’s mostly just the sexual revolutionaries spiking the football. They built up this propaganda and legislative machinery to win the gay marriage fight, and now they’re using it to win the trans fight just because they can.

From what I know of the LGBT activist community, it’s not a disciplined army of sexual revolutionaries. It’s an alliance, each of the letters standing for a different faction. The T people worked hard to get the L, G, and B people their rights (to the extent that said rights are gotten; there are still plenty of places here in the USA where no queer person is protected from discrimination in housing and employment) and now the Ls, Gs, and Bs are returning the favor. You gotta return your favors if you want to stay in politics.

#26 Comment By Jeremy Taylor On April 5, 2016 @ 11:59 pm

I think the most important issue that we don’t know what transsexuality is. Philosophers and scientists are split on what sex and so called gender are. Yet some left-liberals demand we recognise such people are trapped in the wrong bodies at the risk of being labelled bigots, if not opening ourselves up to legal risks.

But this just isn’t proven. No one is quite sure. One of the leading theories (though not dominant: there is no dominant one) is still that male to female transsexuals attracted to women are suffering from autogynephilia and those attracted to are extremely feminine homosexuals trying to attract straight men.

By all means, let us treat such people sensitively, but we should not be forced to accept the activists claims without proper proof.

#27 Comment By georgina davenport On April 6, 2016 @ 8:46 am

People who choose to change gender should not be persecuted and bullied, but they should not pretend that they are just another girl or boy, because they are not. To accept them as they wish to be accepted speaks to our tolerance and acceptance for difference and diversity — so they are different, respectfully, not the same. As such, the TG community should give some allowance in the non-TG girls not feeling comfortable in sharing bathroom with them. This is especially the case with the young TG who have yet to have their bodies chemically and surgically altered. If they are too young to be boys dressing as girls, they are not too young to use a whole separate bathroom all together.

#28 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 6, 2016 @ 9:58 am

Isidore: I have something of a reputation for online civility, and I am very aware that there are times when I simply don’t deserve it. It occurs to me that some of those times my remarks were addressed to you. Please accept my offer of respect for you as a person and for your ability to express your views clearly and with insight.

It’s true, we rarely agree, but we always agree on being good to each other especially in the face of pressure to be otherwise.

Be well, and keep posting.

P.S. I’m a card-carrying curmudgeon. Uncle Chuckie has no advantage over me. I just tend to be less open about it… and more willing to let on that I have a heart and it’s usually in the right place. Charles, sorry bud, but your secret is out and I won’t be silent about it. 😀

#29 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 6, 2016 @ 2:27 pm

Since the mind is the seat of consciousness, and the soul, transgender people experience life as a different gender than their physical body. This is an undeniable fact.

No, its a plausible hypothesis, invoking several areas of study where we really don’t know a lot, and what we think we know could easily be upended by what we haven’t even figured out how to look for yet. Everyone needs to relax the “undeniable” claims and admit that we don’t really know.

We’ve had at least forty years of cute female sports reporters interviewing naked men in locker rooms…

That started because all the reporting that was really good for a sports journalists career happened in the locker rooms, and women of course had been excluded, and it was SO UNFAIR. My preferred solution would have been to ban reporters from the locker rooms, period. After the team took their showers and got dressed, they could all file into a relaxed lounge with plenty of snacks and alcohol and talk to reporters of any sex.

But no mention of treatment of the disorder.

Indeed. If the mind and the body are dysphoric, then it could be either the mind or the body that is wrong. So far we seem to mostly try to “treat” the body to “conform” to the mind. The opposite course of treatment seems equally plausible. Why close off options?

I’ll go half way with Dancer Girl, but I could care less about “affirming identity.” If your identity is ambiguous, you get a private space. That’s it. I agree that most of those grappling with this topic are sincere, along the lines she suggests, and that the concerns of young ladies (actually young men wouldn’t be all that keen on it either) need to be accommodated. And if a F2M transgender student disrobes in the boys locker room, and the MM boys in the locker room stare openly at “her” naked body, are they being disrespectful to her chosen male identity? Let’s not even go there.

#30 Comment By Chas On April 6, 2016 @ 11:51 pm

I’m not sure at all about this. I think there are some folks that drifted waaay out over the deep end on this. I really think there are moral implications related to all this. I just don’t believe that it is on the whole morally right to encourage this sort of thing.

I read Alan Jacobs article “Thinking About Transgenderism,” where he mentions some thoughts and discussion over the issue of whether or not this sort of issue is different from the homosexuality issue for Christians. Except I believe that in relation to children everything changes and all bets are off. Somehow there is extra evil involved when children are led astray.

But Jacobs goes on to question in his own mind if it was a sin for someone to change their gender, and thinks of the “male and female he created them” verse.

I’m not sure if “male and female created he them” would answer the question. Because in the real genetic sense ‘she’ still is a male.

In this regard I also think about the eunuchs. In those biblical times I believe a Eunuch was a male who was castrated and charged with guarding women of a harem. That Ethiopian Eunuch met Phillip on the road and was given the good news of the Gospel, and ostensibly went on to start the Church in Ethiopia.

Christ was quoted as saying “If thy right hand offend thee cut it off” and “If thy right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out.” I’m not sure at all to what those commands related, but I am fairly sure that man is to worship the Creator above all things, and that when these people do what they do borne out of a desire to experience something or to change something for the sake of change or feeling alone, they may well be worshipping the created thing rather than the creator. I don’t believe that I have ever read that God would put the desire in them to do something like remove their genitals.

However, Jesus is reported to have said in Matthew 19:12 “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others– and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Again, I don’t know if that can go back to the “if thy right hand offend thee cut it off.”

So, it is a difficult question. The difficulty today is that most of those who undergo these procedures are not doing so for any discernable reaon other than for their own comfort. And clearly Christ told his followers to pick up their cross and follow Him. Maybe following Him is bearing the temptation brought about by Satan in that regard. I don’t know.

It would seem difficult, however, to condone acts that result in circumstances that are so contrary to what is God’s natural design. However, as we all say, Christ hates the sin but loves the sinner.

#31 Comment By KD On April 8, 2016 @ 10:06 am

Look, the key to the problems with the trans experiment is men have much higher rates of being violent perpetrators, and much much higher rates of sexual violence, and that remains true whether a man “identifies as a woman” or not.

So mixing women and bio-men in intimate situations puts women at higher risk of crime victimization, especially sexual assault. Thus, you will be sued to endangering women, or you will be sued for discriminating against transwomen.

Further, the TERF feminists are right. They have every right to have conferences that exclude men, and that exclusion should apply to biomen. Many of the activists are there because they have been brutally abused by men, and they should be able to create a space where that shouldn’t happen. [As much as I might disagree with them on abortion, LGBT and the rest of it.]

The Trans Activists are welcome to set up their own feminist conferences if they want.

#32 Comment By KD On April 8, 2016 @ 10:09 am

I have suggested before that it is better to just set up a “third sex” than it is to pretend men are really women or women are really men. Give them their own bathroom, that is fine, but keep them out of mine.

#33 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 8, 2016 @ 10:09 am

Joys-R-Us: [I like your chosen name, btw.] Your comparison between transgendered and religious is specious. It seems plausible, but isn’t really beyond the (excellently written) logic you submit.

I’ll prefix my rebuttal by conceding that you and I are likely having a match of dueling subjectivities. Ahem. 😀

A transgendered person, if I may be so bold as to suggest how they think based only on what some transgendered friends have told me, is having a conflict over body vs. emotion. This is a relationship with the physical world, albeit with an abstract component that has a valid overlap with spiritual belief. I’ll come back to that a bit later.

The religious person has a relationship that is entirely abstract and spiritual. It has connections with and consequences towards the physical world. It is not definitional to the relationship with the physical world — I would offer the opinion that someone who makes it definitional is likely going to be viewed by the vast majority of us as intellectually misguided at best, mentally ill at worst. See also Young Earth Creationism, for example.

Pagans are gender dualists. With the rare exceptions of Pagan monotheists and non-theists (the latter of which I am one), we look to a gender identification of our deities quite as much as to their other important aspects. Wiccans have the Lord and the Lady. Polytheists have several of each. Whether they are specific in their spiritual existence or recognized as avatars of a prime concept, gender is very important.

Pagans are, no humility implied or intended, very aware of gender, and very much accepting of it and its variations in ways towards which traditional monotheists will at best balk. Ritualized copulation is still very much common amongst us (and before someone snarks, the vast majority who do practice it keep it strictly abstracted rather than actual).

I suggest that the overlapping is where monotheists, and Christians in particular, find conflicts where none need to exist. Gender, sexuality, copulation and reproduction all get lumped together in one broad aspect of human life. I do imply a value judgment in claiming that Pagans have no such conflicts; I personally and many fellow Pagans scoff at it. We do replace them with other conflicts, I should add. But we by-and-large embrace conflicts rather than see them as problems to be solved, let alone evils to be defeated. To be pithily vague: we do not pit Light against Dark. We embrace both, we embody both. A bright light can blind us. A dark place can be a haven, or a place to prepare as with a seed in the ground.

I have zero objection to Caitlyn Jenner as a person. She is on a journey that few of us would wish on our worst enemies. I do object to her self-commercialization, but that is an entirely different topic. Her journey is physical-emotional. The religious journey is spiritual-emotional. It is a mistake to blithely jump between them, and I suggest is qualified as a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

#34 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 8, 2016 @ 11:20 am

An interesting juxtaposition between a failed and fabricated study, and a recent effort to apply the still valid methodology to arrive at measurable and repeatable results.


The canvassers thought the conversations were changing people’s minds, but Fleischer says he couldn’t know if it was working without independent verification. He enlisted a graduate student at UCLA named Michael LaCour to see if there was a measurable effect. LGBT Center volunteers went out to canvass hundreds of people. LaCour and an advisor, political scientist Donald Green at Columbia University, published the findings in Science in [6]. The study got a huge amount of attention.

But things fell apart when David Broockman and Joshua Kalla, then graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley, tried to use LaCour’s methods to study prejudice against transgender people. They, along with Yale statistician Peter Aronow, discovered that LaCour’s work was almost a complete fabrication. Green, who was unaware of the deception, quickly requested a retraction. LaCour denied the misconduct in a statement to [7] last year.

They sent out surveys to thousands of homes in Miami, asking people to answer questions that included how they felt about transgender people and if they would support legal protection against discrimination for transgender people. Then volunteers from SAVE, an LGBT advocacy organization based in Florida, visited half of the 501 people who responded and canvassed them about an unrelated topic, recycling. Volunteers went to the other half and started the conversations that Fleischer thinks can help change minds.

After the canvass, the study participants answered the same questions about transgender people that they had answered before the study, including how positively or negatively they felt towards transgender people on a scale of 0 to 100. Those who had discussed prejudice they’d experienced felt about 10 points more positively toward transgender people, on average.

#35 Comment By henry On April 8, 2016 @ 7:59 pm

The one thing I don’t know if these folks think about, is the context in which they believe it important to change their gender. Let me take the ‘Caitlyn’ as an example. Now, when ‘Caitlyn’ envisions himself as this woman he’s doing that as someone with a lot of money and as someone who sees the right context to be this advanced society where looks matter greatly, frilly womens undergarments can be bought and bodies can be sculpted and breasts implanted and fancy dresses can be worn etc.. Photographers will take pictures etc.. But let us suppose that ‘Caitlyn’ had had his sculpting done and was on a plane to visit the olympics in Brazil and suddenly went down in the deepest jungles and was the only survior. He happened to crash near one of the last tribal groups that lives in the jungle but has no contact with the outside world. The tribe takes ‘Caitlyn’ in. Do we think that ‘Caitlyn’ would be more interested in walking around shirtless with a child clinging to his neck as he squatted to prepare the roots for the feats that the men hunters were going to bring home, or would he instinctively jump up with the men to hunt for the meat they will need to survive? If were a gambler I would bet any amount that ‘Caitlyn’ would quickly become Bruce in that environment.

#36 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 10, 2016 @ 2:23 pm

If we as a species had not gotten into the habit of wearing clothes, would the trans-gender things have even come to exist? There is no such thing as cross-dressing if you hang it all out all the time.

I also wonder whether the trans-gender thing will turn out to be the collateral damage of BPA being used in the liner of canned foods? Here we’re talking about freedom and identity and expression, and its really all about endocrine disruptors?

#37 Comment By Henry On April 10, 2016 @ 6:09 pm


Definitely a lot of mercury in Tuna.

#38 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 11, 2016 @ 12:28 pm

Good point Henry, given recent research about an uptick in homosexual behavior among wading birds correlated with increased mercury levels in the water. In a few centuries, the history books may record that for several decades after certain chemicals reached certain ppm levels in the human food chain, there was all this fooforaw about gays and trans-genders, but once the poisons were abated, there was little more heard about this strange aberration. (And it will all be Pat Robertson’s fault — he who opposed taxing BTU’s more bitterly than he opposed abortion in his “Christian Voter’s Guide.” He makes his money on coal and oil.)