Alliance Defending Freedom attempts to convince donors that gender identity is a choice.
I get it. Our legal system tolerates, perhaps even encourages, the hyperbolic pronouncements of lawyers.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is deemed an anti-lGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. That designation is the product of (at least in part) the organization’s penchant for lying about LGBTQ people. When they lie to attract donations that is a form of fraud. At the same time they are harming others.
A recent example arrived in my inbox on Thursday. The missive is titled: Schools deceiving parents. The appeal is reflected in the sub-heading: “
Draw the line—make your gift to protect parental rights!”
Conservative Christian blowhards have been asking the following rhetorical question since the 1925 Scopes trial in Tennessee:
So how would you feel if you found out that your child’s school was betraying your trust and undermining your authority?
In other words, according to ADF, public school instruction should conform to scripture regardless of empirical science. Thus, schools are obliged to make kids stupid to retain parental trust and to respect parental authority.
Keep in mind that, in most locales, this view represents that of the lunatic fringe minority. If they had their way, in order to prevent kids from becoming critical thinkers, schools should inflict ignorance upon all the other students. This is not a very good way of producing Nobel laureates.
Here’s the fun part:
That your child was being taught that they can choose their own gender. And behind your back, teachers could be required to address your child by a new name and pronoun of the opposite sex without your notice or consent.
In fact, all school employees were instructed to further deceive you by reverting to using your child’s normal name and pronoun when you were around.
The first sentence of that garble is a lie. No one is being taught that they can “choose their own gender” simply because it is not true. ADF is indoctrinating adults to believe that gender identity is a choice.
The cynics at ADF know that it is an easy argument to make because no parent wants a trans child. They get away with this bullshit because they know that it is what their audience wants to hear.
There is also the issue of scale. ADF is suggesting to the recipient that an issue affecting 0.5%* of the student population is widespread.
The lawyers at ADF know perfectly well that students have a right to privacy. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act only applies to education records which should not include sexual orientation or gender identity. According to FERPA:
Personal notes by teachers or other staff that are not meant to be shared are not part of an education record.
Without getting into the weeds, confidentiality and privacy are two different constructs. Both apply to sessions with a school counselor or a school psychologist unless there is an imminent danger of harm to the student or others.
Legalities aside, there are more pressing issues.
- We have to accept the student’s judgment regarding disclosure. Most parents of gender diverse children are aware of their child’s condition. When a child hides his or her sexuality we have to assume that they fear the consequences of disclosure. We should err on the side of caution.
- There is only one person who should discuss this matter. That would be the child at a time and place of his or choosing.
- Denied confidentiality, a student might not seek counseling that might otherwise be helpful
Another dishonesty is that ADF is suggesting that, if only parents knew that their child was gender diverse, then they could do something about it. Are they going to talk the kid out of gender dysphoria?
Some parents might seek qualified professional help. However, most of ADF’s constituency are more likely to put their kids into conversion therapy which can have lifetime adverse mental health consequences.
This is more than just speculation. ADF represents a group of parents suing the Madison, WI school board over this issue. According to the complaint filed in this case:
If Plaintiffs’ children ever begin to experience gender dysphoria, Plaintiffs would not immediately “affirm” their children’s beliefs about their gender identity and allow them to transition to a different gender role, but would instead pursue a treatment approach to help them identify and address the underlying causes of the dysphoria and learn to embrace their biological sex.
In other words, they want to subject the kid to toxic gender identity conversion “therapy” because transgender people might contradict Genesis 1:27. Makes perfect sense unless you are a reasonably functioning and rational carbon life form.
The email is verbose. It contains the following:
Children belong to their parents—not the government
[ ], it’s no secret that gender identity ideology is a controversial topic in our society.
The debate about how best to address gender confusion in young people continues to rage through legislatures, news networks, and social media.
Indeed “gender identity ideology” is controversial because it does not exist. It makes no more sense than diabetes ideology or acid reflux ideology or irritable bowel ideology.
Debate “through legislatures, news networks, and social media” is irrelevant. The only debate that really matters is that which is conducted among scientists and the scientific consensus is quite clear: The only effective means of mitigating the distress caused by acute gender dysphoria is through gender-affirming therapy.
Because of Defenders of the Faith like Alliance Defending Freedom, the best medical care for children has become a topic of debate outside of the scientific community. It has nothing to do with what is best for kids. This is about defending and protecting scripture.
Belief systems are based on faith. Science is based on evidence. Attempting to conform science to a belief system is superstition.
* Now is a good opportunity to clear up the statistics. According to the CDC 2% of children and adolescents are transgender. More recently, this made its way into an Op-Ed in the New York Times by Dr. Jack Turban. This is based on answers to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
It is correct but possibly misleading depending upon the understanding of the reader. What does “transgender” mean?
If you review the instrumentation, the question that was asked of the students was whether or not they felt some degree of gender incongruence which is then defined as being transgender:
Some people describe themselves as transgender when their sex at birth does not match the way they think or feel about their gender. Are you transgender?
A. No, I am not transgender
B. Yes, I am transgender
C. I am not sure if I am transgender
D. I do not know what this question is asking