No such thing as boys and girls?

gender screenshot

We discovered our 6 year old had been learning about gender identity in her Grade 1 class in March when she blurted out “My teacher says there’s no such thing as boys and girls”. And then she asked a strange question about how Doctors could get involved to help people so they wouldn’t have to have children.

We’d been having a good discussion with our 2 daughters and the topic of Mommies and Daddies came up. We pointed out that as girls, they’ll be able to be Mommies one day.

My husband and I had to think fast to figure out how to respond to this. We were totally unprepared and in shock over the question she’d asked. We turned to our older daughter and asked her what she thought of the statement “there’s no such thing as boys or girls”.

“Nonsense!”, was her quick reply. Of course there’s boys and girls.

Luckily we’d just been to see the movie Jumanji. We all conjured up the image of Jack Black who looks down at his newly discovered equipment the first time he has to go pee, and with a healthy dose of self-acceptance he says “oh look, I’ve got a handle!”. And we all had a good laugh.

In the Jumnanji video game world, the character Dr Shelly (Sheldon) Oberon is a fat middle aged white guy. In the “real” world, he’s an attractive teenaged girl obsessed with her appearance. And boys, of course.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you can imagine what hilarious events unfold for this character coming to terms with his new reality.

My husband and I weren’t nearly so amused by the revelations our daughter had just shared about what she was learning in class. We live in a physical world, as part of the animal kingdom and on this amazing planet. There may be many things we have yet to uncover and fully understand, but boys and girls exist. Let’s make no mistake about that.

I made an appointment with our daughter’s teacher the next week and asked her why she’d told the class there’s no such thing as boys or girls. She proceeded to tell me that some of the children are struggling with the idea that gender is binary. The school board policy is gender fluidity, she explained.

Yes, we had a very interesting conversation. At one point I told her, in a very subtle attempt to try to talk some sense into her, that I’d been a tom boy growing up. To which she confidently replied that I should understand.

Excuse me?

I don’t get it. This new gender theory goes far beyond trying to break down the traditional gender stereotypes that many of us have worked hard to eliminate. It seems for some people, we haven’t gone nearly far enough.

At one point I asked her if there were any guidelines for teachers to understand what was age appropriate in teaching this new concept.  She said something about a specialist that works in this area who may be able to answer my questions.

I went home feeling I’d been sucked into a George Orwell inspired video game waiting for a gender specialist to show up so I could be reprogrammed. I sent a note to the principal expressing a few concerns.

A few days later, we found our daughter playing teacher. Our eyes opened wider as we noticed she was drawing the gender identity spectrum on her whiteboard, boys and girls in neat little boxes at opposite ends; joined by a line with lots of marks in the middle.

She was teaching her class of teddy bears just three days after I’d suggested to her role model that she put the brakes on her social experiment.

Our daughter couldn’t explain what all the lines were meant to represent in the middle. She could only explain the boxes for girls and boys. More lessons needed, I suppose.

That was when my husband and I decided we’d better understand exactly what the hell was going on in our daughter’s Grade 1 class and who was willing to do anything about it.

We were told soon after that the reason they were promoting “gender fluidity” to 6 year olds was because there was a girl in the class who didn’t conform to traditional expectations of a girl. She was interested in the toys and games the boys were playing. She wears her hair cropped short. And she had told the kids she felt like a boy – when she was under attack and being taunted for picking up the boy-labeled Purel bottle in class.

Hmmm.

I fully expect teachers would address the taunting or bullying this little girl was facing. Grade 1 is a great place to learn how to treat others with kindness and respect.

But it’s 2018 and our educators in all their wisdom told her parents she’d “identified” as a boy. And now they were teaching the whole class about transgender identity, including new pronouns they could use we were soon to uncover.

It seemed to us that the kids were just fine but we were becoming more concerned about the adults in the room.

We were told there was a “Consultant” who was very happy with how the teacher was handling this tricky situation.

We said our daughter was confused by what her teacher was telling the class and we were concerned that she was being taught concepts that weren’t appropriate at the age of 6.

We never really got to explain why we felt they were inappropriate. No one asked us for our point of view or expressed any concern about our daughter and what messages she was hearing or interpreting from these lessons.

The principal was completely unable to express any concern even willingness to hear our point of view and used her own personal experience to claim the moral high ground, including telling us about her transgender son.

As Educators, she told us, they knew best.

She gave us the option of having our daughter removed from class for these discussions.

Interesting approach. It felt like an ultimatum disguised as an olive branch. We wondered whether it was offered to get us to think twice about whether we’d want our kid to be the one singled out.

The policy she sent home to us about ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for learning didn’t match the feeling we had about our daughter’s classroom or the school environment just then.

We told our daughter that night that if her teacher started teaching the “no such thing as girls and boys” topic again she was to leave the classroom and call us. And we informed her teacher and the principal of this decision.

The school board finally agreed to go back to principles of tolerance and acceptance in the classroom. We don’t believe they really agreed with us. Their lawyers had probably told them they couldn’t go down the path of having kids sitting out of class for this, that and the other. That would be an untenable situation, don’t you think?

Especially in a public school system that’s supposed to be inclusive for everyone.

We asked them to inform the other parents of what their kids had been learning in the class. The video about gender identity. The discussions and whiteboard lessons from their teacher. The books that were being read. The discussion that may have come up about sex changes.

It’s what we would have wanted other parents to do for us had we not been the ones to uncover what was being taught in class.

Nope. That was too much for them. No, this stuff had been taught under a veil of secrecy and under that veil of secrecy it would stay.

They didn’t want to put a spotlight on the issue, they said.

We pointed out they’d already put a spotlight on the issue by teaching this to all the kids in the class and it was deceptive not to let parents know.

What could possibly be motivating these seemingly intelligent and educated professionals?

We were told it was because they have the best intentions. They’re compassionate people, it seems. At least towards those with whom they have some special affinity and think would be happier in a world where there’s no such thing as boys and girls.

Is this the objective of gender fluidity?

What an absurd paradox we have here.

Gender fluidity is no longer fluid, according to their new definition. It requires defining and assigning people to different group identities based on stereotypical ideas of masculine and feminine.

I wonder who gets to decide exactly what’s really masculine or feminine? People are inventing all kinds of new letters and pronouns to make their point, that’s for sure.

But let’s make sure we don’t take a step backward from the wonderfully tolerant and accepting society we’ve created.

I want my girls to grow up and enjoy the same opportunities I’ve had as a woman. In my lifetime I’ve enjoyed the most amazing level of equality of opportunity with men in any field or career of my choice and the wonderful experience of being a mother. Let’s not forget about that little detail.

My husband and I believe that girls and boys are equal, but different. That’s our culture and that’s our moral belief system.

I wonder what utopian vision will play out if we keep listening to the social justice warriors starting to show up in our classrooms, freshly indoctrinated at a post-modern-afflicted university in this new idea that gender is a social construct. All the wonders of modern medicine are ready and willing to help us create whatever brave new world we can dream up.

Yep, I’ll take a pass on this social experiment. Thanks for the offer.

I believe there’s a much grander experiment going on. It’s called life. Some people refer to it as physical reality. I was born into this reality as a girl – not always thankful of that fact – but that’s the way it is here on planet Earth. Welcome to the jungle.

Gender certainly isn’t black and white. It never has been and I’m fully on board with embracing the infinite ways people can express themselves. Let’s not insist on eliminating the fundamental reality behind the procreation of the human species.

And while we’re at it, can we recognize the stupidity of creating new categories of people in an attempt to stop categorizing people?!

We already have gender fluidity, people. Maybe we’d be making more progress if we didn’t force a new concept of identity onto vulnerable and highly impressionable children.

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