It must be a constant source of frustration to people like Steven Brown that every day, expectant parents are told by their doctors that, “It’s a girl (or, a boy),” based on the physical form of the child, or that every day, wedding ceremonies culminate with the words, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
Perish the thought that public schools should be complicit in such blatant stereotyping. This, after all, is 2012, a time in which elementary school children are taught terms like genderqueer, a time in which girls kissing girls is the fad in middle school and high school, a time in which a mother in rural Georgia can have a baby girl, then undergo sex-change surgery and become the girl’s “father,” then claim that her/his child identified as a boy at 18 months, and then sue his/her daughter’s elementary school to force them to allow her/his daughter (now, allegedly son) to use the boy’s bathroom. Oh yes, this is 2012.
According to local station WPRO, Superintendent Lundsten sent out a letter in August stating, “I acknowledge that many of these events have long traditions and for many parents, these types of gender-based events are not an issue, however, this is a public school system and under no circumstances should we be isolating any student from full participation in school activities and events based on gender.” (For the record, “Lundsten said that while federal law banning gender discrimination gives an exemption for such gender-specific events, Rhode Island law does not.”)
As the host of a daily talk radio show, as well as a preacher, professor, columnist, and author, it’s not often that words fail me, but this report literally leaves me speechless. What has become of moral sanity? What has become of common sense?
This, however, is not the end of the story. The Associated Press reports that “School Committee member Janice Ruggieri said the school system can begin hosting ‘family dances’ to accommodate all kinds of parenting situations.” I’m sure the polyamorous families will be thrilled to hear this latest piece of news.
Thankfully, not everyone has lost their gender compass. The article I have been citing, carried by NBC News online, closed with this question: “Do you think father-daughter dances are inherently discriminatory?” As of this writing, 49,888 readers had responded. 88.3 percent said No; 11.7 percent said Yes.
Are you listening, Steven Brown and the ACLU? All hope is not lost in 2012.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.
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