In The Progressive Era, Murray Rothbard described a fight between Protestants and Catholics for control of San Francisco public schools. John Swett, one of the leading figures in California public education in the middle of the 19th century, believed that “children arrived at the age of maturity belong, not to the parents, but to the State, to society, to the country." The city's well-heeled Protestants agreed, and wanted to use the public-school system to "impose pietist Protestant control over Catholic ethnics." The vision of the state-run schools was so totalizing, and their efforts at undermining Catholic students' faith so extensive, that one San Francisco priest said the school system "is not satisfied with teaching children the 3 Rs…it reaches out and takes possession of their whole lives.”
That is, in a sense, the goal of the Biden administration's LGBT agenda. From its attempted crackdown on parents who don't want pornography in school libraries to its executive order calling for a study of the long-term effects of "family rejection" on "LGBTQI+ individuals," one of the administration's central aims has been countering the influence of traditionalist parents, and disrupting relationships between parents and children.
Take, for example, "Q Chat," which Breitbart reported last week is linked on the CDCs "LGBT Youth Resources" page. Q Chat brands itself a digital "community for LGBTQ+ teens" that allows users between 13 and 19 years old to engage peers and adult "facilitators" in discussions of sexuality and gender identity. The site has hosted discussions for its teenaged users on subjects like "Sex and Relationships," "Having Multiple Genders," and "Drag Culture 101." An academic review of users' behavior, posted on the National Institutes of Health website, indicates that "sex education" is one of the most popular chat subjects.
That such a site exists is bad enough, and that it is endorsed by the federal government doubly so. But it gets worse. At the bottom of the page is an icon of a sprinting stick figure, which invites users to click "for a quick escape" should a parent or other adult enter the room. That is of a piece with the site's broader subversive aims. The researchers noted that among Q Chat's "desired populations for engagement" are "LGBTQ youth in the South," and added that the pandemic has "heightened" the "need for Internet-based services and programming" given that "LGBTQ youth are further removed from school and community services and confined to sometimes non-affirming home environments."
Note the presumed opposition between the "home environment" and the "school"; progressives often deny that schools actively encourage children to pursue alternative sexualities or gender identities, but any such pretense is dropped here. In fact, this is a better representation of their actual position, which is that refusing to "affirm" your child's gender identity or sexual behavior is a form of violence that merits removing the child from your custody. This is why they insist so vigorously on withholding students' medical information from "non-affirming" parents. They consider the possibility that a parent might steer a confused child away from genital-mutilation surgery intolerable.
Consider the Biden administration's reaction to Florida's Parental Rights in Education Act, which is a completely benign piece of legislation that, if anything, does not go far enough. The bill includes a provision prohibiting school districts from adopting policies that prevent school personnel from disclosing "mental, emotional, or physical" health information to parents—policies meant to prevent "outing" a child to her parents.
When the bill was first advanced, Biden called it "hateful" and told "every member of the LGBTQI+ community," including "the kids," that his "Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve."
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But whom, exactly, does the Biden administration intend to "protect" the children from? Certainly not the school counselors who would circumvent parental authority and tell a confused boy that he is, in fact, a girl, and certainly not the teachers who use their positions of power to push queer theory in the classroom.
When Health Secretary Admiral Levine says the Biden administration wants to "empower" young people to "get gender-affirmation treatment," it is not only a promise, but also a threat. Yes, the administration opposes state bans on Medicaid-funded transgender surgery for minors. That is bad enough. But it also promotes services like Q Chat with the goal of liberating "trans youth" from their "non-affirming" family members, and undermining the family unit in the process.
There are, of course, bad parents, and there are situations in which we take children from their custody. But here the state seeks to intervene on behalf of a delusion. And the family, however imperfect, remains the foundational unit of our social order. As Joe Sobran wrote, "There have always been bad fathers, but the average of fathers, on the whole, is higher than that of kings."