The article’s headline was absolutely shocking: “Maryland Middle School Requires Children To Cross Dress For ‘LGBTQ Appreciation Day’,” and not surprisingly, the article quickly went viral.
The good news is that it was a hoax.
The bad news is that it was so close to reality, most readers took it seriously, and it was only after I read a few paragraphs into the article that I realized it wasn’t true. This is a case of fiction being frighteningly close to the truth.
According to the article, posted last week on NationalReport.net, “Parents in the town of St. Leonard, MD were aghast after learning what the staff at Heritage Middle School required children to do for a passing grade. The outrage stems from an event held this past Monday, a day which the school had dubbed ‘LGBTQ Appreciation Day’ instructing children to experience the homosexual lifestyle for a single school day or receive a failing grade.
“Students were assigned the different roles throughout LGBTQ culture. Boys were given the task of being masculine homosexuals, feminine homosexuals, cross dressers and a wide variety of other gay archetypes. The young ladies were selected to be lip stick lesbians, or butch lesbians.”
The article states that this was the brainchild of “school principle Caren Shandel,” described as “a longtime activist for gay rights” who “also holds the title of first openly transgendered school principle in the Nation.”
Shandel is quoted as saying, “For decades the conservative majority has expressed nothing but hatred and disdain towards homosexuals and gay culture. Fortunately, progressive liberal reasoning has gained predominance which has enabled those of us within educational systems to re-educate and replace many of the antiquated ways in which people perceive homosexuals and their allies. . . . . I won’t rest until there’s an out-of-the-closet homosexual in every family!”
Unfortunately, there was enough in the article that sounded plausible for many people to believe every word of it, even though it got progressively outrageous.
A concerned mother sent me the link, asking if I had seen it, and when I replied that I believed it to be a hoax, she said that she had initially believed it because of what she had already seen in her children’s schools. It hardly seemed over the top to her.
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.