Friday, August 26, 2005

More CRC Ugliness at the School Board Meeting

This week, Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC) member Ben Patton took up two minutes of Board of Education public comments to lie about what was going to be included in the new sex-ed curriculum, to mislead about what psychiatrists consider a disorder, and to talk about some gross stuff.

Patton jumped right in with some words of real smart wisdom:
One of the sexual categories in what would have been introduced to our children under the now banned revised curriculum is transgender. I ask you, why do you want to teach our children that transgenderism is normal, natural, and healthy? I don't get it.

Why do you want the schools to instruct children as young as 13 about transgenderism in the first place? I don’t know.

Now, reader, I am going to ask you to do something. On the right-hand side of this web page, there are some links. One is labeled "Grade 8 Revised curriculum," and one is "Grade 10 Revised curriculum ." These are the courses that were going to be introduced this last spring.

These PDF files open in Adobe Reader. Click on the little binoculars at the top, which let you search. Type in the word "transgender." Let's just go to the source and see what "would have been introduced to our children under the now banned revised curriculum."

Both curricula have the same thing. It is a section that says:
For Teacher Reference Only (The information in the 
shaded area is not to be shared with students.)
Transgender refers to someone whose gender identity or
expression differs from conventional expectations for their
physical sex. This term includes transsexual and transvestite.
(Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Vol. 92,
No. 4 (Oct. 1993), pp. 631-634)

That's it. That's the whole thing.

Now, let me ask you, reader -- is there something about "not to be shared with students" that is hard to understand? This was NOT going to be taught to anyone, and was just there, in a list of definitions, so teachers could know a little more than their students.

There is not and was not going to be anything, anything at all, about transgenderism in the curriculum.

And he tells the board that the schools were going to teach that transgenderism is "normal, natural, and healthy?" In his dreams.

OK, that's bizarre to tell the board this as if it were real -- I mean, this is the school board, they've read the curriculum -- but this CRC guy is just getting started. Now, in classic form, he has to talk about the grossest aspect of sexual behavior that he can think of.
Would the discussion also have included the particular sexual practices associated with this supposed gender, perhaps fisting and rimming where participants ingest feces? Of course not.

He sits in front of the Montgomery County school board to tell them that transgendered people stick their hands up each others' butts and eat poop?

This is unbelievable.

Think how it must be, to be a board member and go to work, knowing that these CRC guys are going to pull this. Last time, it was another CRC member talking about flushing kids' heads in the toilet, and anus-licking.

Then he changes directions again.
Are you even aware that the American Psychiatric Association categorizes transgenderism as a gender identity disorder and advises children and adults so afflicted to seek therapy? It appears not.

This is incorrect. I was going to call it another lie, but I see that the former citizens committee actually approved a source (a Discovery Channel article by an Ann Reyes, PhD) that incorrectly supports this interpretation, so I'll give him a point back.

Maybe that's where he got his information. It would have been better, though, to go to the source, not a TV-show article. (And I hope the new committee follows that advice, too.)

There is, in fact, something called "gender identity disorder." The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, used to make psychiatric diagnoses, says this:
The diagnosis is not made if the individual has a concurrent 
physical intersex condition (e.g., androgen insensitivity syndrome
or congenital adrenal hyperplasia) (Criteria C). To make the
diagnosis, there must be evidence of clinically significant
distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important
areas of functioning (Criteria D).

This tells us a couple of things. If a person is actually physically transgendered, that is, if they have a hormonal or physical condition that makes their sex ambiguous, then it's not gender identity disorder. Second, if they are comfortable with their transgenderism, again, it's not a disorder. You gotta think you're the opposite sex from your physiology -- you have to be clearly, a hundred per cent male or female biologically in the first place -- and it has to impair or distress you.

Patton continues to tell the school board:
Apparently you have sided with extremist social activists who are attempting to normalize the abnormal. In fact, a teacher's resource actually includes a reference linking a Scotsman's wearing of a kilt with transvestitism. Scotsmen wear kilts ergo they are cross-dressers; therefore cross-dressing is a normal and accepted practice in some societies.

To which I can only quote our Spanish-speaking friends: jejeje.

Man, I'll tell you, that is silly. What is this guy so wound up about? A guy wears a skirt, big deal. Maybe he's Scottish, maybe he's gay, maybe he just likes to dress like a woman -- lighten up, dude, nobody gets hurt.

It seems to me that normal people accept things they can't change, especially when those things are none of their business and don't do any harm.

Oh, anyway, we were talking the other day about misconstrual. You don't really think there's any teachers' resource that says Scotsmen in kilts are cross-dressers, do you? I never saw anything like this in any teachers' resources, and I am not inclined to believe this character when he says it's in there. I'll bet he's misconstruing something, which of course we can't check on, because he doesn't say which resource makes this weird claim.

There's a paragraph I'll skip, where he gets to use the word "sophistry," but doesn't say anything important. Then he delivers his knockout punch:
It is very disturbing that the disbanded Citizens Advisory Committee had several representatives peddling transgenderism as a sexual variant. NARAL, Planned Parenthood, PFLAG, Montgomery County Mental Health Association which were all represented on the committee, each have stated unequivocal support of the transgendered. PFLAG in fact believes, and I quote, "There is no known cure or course of treatment which reverses the transgendered persons' manifestation of the characteristics and behavior of another gender." This of course is tattered bunk. But then again there is so much about that curriculum that was false and misleading let's not repeat the mistakes.

OK... was any of this worth saying? Was this a good use of the school board's time? This guy doesn't like the idea that some people are transgendered ... ok, so what?

And as far as your "tattered bunk," well, what do you suggest? Are you implying that you have the secret solution for all this, the Philosopher's Stone of proper gender identity? [Note: the written transcript shows the intended phrase to be "flat earth bunk," not "tattered bunk," which is what it sounded like.]

So what if the committee had members of some groups that accept transgendered persons? This is ... oh, I hate to throw this word around, but ... this is stupid. "Peddling transgenderism": a stupid thing to say. Sorry. Nobody can even imagine what that means, how you "peddle" something like that.

And remember, the citizens committee had somebody from PFOX. It had Parents Against X-Rated blah blah blah. It had the Daughters of the American Revolution. It had the President of the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, for cryin' out loud. So stop your whining.

The curriculum was not going to say anything about transgendered people. Lots of transgendered people do not have gender identity disorder.

Oh, and by the way, the fisting and rimming thing that these guys love to talk in public about. Straight people do that stuff too, you know.

Once again, the CRC has shown us the ugliest combination of hatred and ignorance -- please join us in stopping these people who want to influence the Montgomery County public school curriculum.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is fascinating, Jim. Thank you for taking the time to disect this testimony.

Another important thing to note is that even when a transgendered person is diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, the APA does not recommend trying to "fix" them in the sense that they should stop being transgendered. The only "fixing" would be along the lines of allowing the person to feel at peace in their body. How could you possibly be critical of this?

There is one way you could be critical. You could be critical if you believe that transgenderism, like homosexuality, is a choice -- that people can change if they really want to. However, research is starting to suggest that transgenderism is caused as the fetus develops; the brain and the body/genitalia develop as the opposite genders rather than the same gender. Sorry, guys, you can't just "fix" that by making the problem go away!

Not that any of this matters, because it wasn't even included in the curriculum.


August 27, 2005 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sat one person away from Ben Patten at the Board meeting on Thursday, and it was distinctly uncomfortable. Patten was so wrapped up in his disgust (reveling in it, perhaps?) that he spat as he spoke. It was embarrassing to be hear him, to hear such inappropriate material presented in a public school BOE meeting, to hear such ignorance from a person who pretended he was "informing" others, to hear his malice glittering through the murkiness of his illogic.

I am proud and honored to have transsexual friends. (Not all transgender people are transsexual.) I am proud and honored because my friends are good people and we are all honored by the friendship of good people. I first met a transwoman at my church. Her graciousness and understanding enabled me to get over my reaction to the "strangeness" of a person who had changed her physical sex. Now I know several other transwomen and transmen, and I would not willingly give up their friendship. I know some couples whose long-term marriages have survived the transition of one spouse. Those people know something about loving, support, and commitment that many other couples never do figure out. I have great compassion for their life experiences, and I know that they have not chosen, in fact could not possibly choose, to transition on a whim. On the other hand, I would never present my friends as people who need our pity, because they are strong, healthy, wonderful people.

Transgender, at the level I understand it, is simply not a part of the MCPS curriculum. It never has been, and I doubt that it ever will be. However, there should not be any controversy over telling 16-year-old people that the word "transgender" means a person who crosses gendered behavior in someway.

The CRC is trying to support some kind of "slippery slope" argument: If any mention is made of any non-polar identity then children will be inexorably drawn to experimentation, deviance and demise. In reality, a few parents fear that their children may someday encounter people who are not like them, and as I did, find out that it is OK to like them just as they are.

August 27, 2005 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At this meeting and at the last, CRC supporters(last time, it was Ruth Jacobs) felt it important to speak about this particular sexual practice. I have had two kids take the entire high school health class(as well as 5th and 8th) and this practice is not mentioned- so why are these people so obsessed with talking about it in front of the BOE, on the BOE's cable channel and to the public attending the meeting? I would say that these people are ones who have a disorder- an obsession with talking about an unusual sexual practice and feces in public.

Just sign me,
Grossed out by the CRC

August 27, 2005 9:24 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Hey, Gross, I agree. I remember several months ago trying to explain to a reporter that the CRC "pornographizes" everything. So much of sexual interaction is really about romance and love and caring for someone, but these guys insist on focusing on the ugliest aspects they can find.

This is, I think, part of the reason they were so upset about the information in the curriculum about sexual identity. Sex should be a dirty thing you do in the dark, as a marital duty. To talk about it as part of your identity, as an integrated part of your life, is strange and scary to them.

August 27, 2005 9:39 PM  

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