Jonathan Koeppel, a teacher, is wed to the belief that he can denigrate trans kids with impunity
Jonathan Koeppel, a teacher, is wed to the belief that he can denigrate trans kids with impunity | via Facebook

The bravest people I know are trans kids. They go to school every day knowing that they will be targeted for abuse.

A set of evidence-based facts (see below)
should take precedence over religious dogma

Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins of Family Research Council is glorifying a bigoted, transphobic Louisiana teacher by the name of Jonathan Koeppel. According to Perkins, Koeppel told his school board:

“A man cannot menstruate,” he argued when it was his turn for public comment. “A man cannot lactate and breastfeed a child. You cannot give birth if you’re a man. If you want to be an adult and do whatever you want with your life, I’m okay with that. Don’t push this ideology on children. I’m not going to work in a district that’s okay with that… Parents are already pulling their kids out of public school… They’re going online is going to increase as this liberal ideology comes into our schools. This isn’t a political indoctrination camp, okay? It’s public education. We want to teach education, not Left-wing ideas that aren’t backed up by facts or science.”

Parents pulling kids out of public schools is nothing new. Parents have done so in order to dumb-down their kids with creationism. Labeling the science of human sexuality as an “ideology” is spectacularly stupid.

Mr. Koeppel is understandably confused. His religious ideology causes him to rhetorically assert that science he does not like comprises an ideology. Religious doctrine is not science.

Perkins describes his deification of Mr. Koeppel as Unequally Woked: One Teacher’s Stand to Stop the Left.

Note the quote relating to “political indoctrination camp.” Science is apolitical. Treating people with kindness is apolitical. Religious indoctrination (which Koeppel supports) is constitutionally prohibited.

People who are “woke” are kind to others. I’ll take that label every day of the week (if I live up to it). That does not apply to Mr. Perkins who has direct ties to the Klan. It certainly does not apply to Jonathan Koeppel whose 15 minutes are the result of appealing to the lowest common denominator.

“It is common decency that is under attack. Common courtesy is under siege.”

Apparently Mr. Perkins’ heroes are people who are indecent and discourteous. Perkins presumably relishes the validation of his own personality disorder.

A common tactic of intolerant religious fanatics is to claim that their bigotry is not embraced by legions of others because people are afraid. Perkins and Koeppel dutifully employ that device:

Jonathan says, “You’ve got to stop being scared… If we’re going to live in fear, you might as well … live on an island somewhere. We need bold people, especially [as] Christian[s]. The righteous are supposed to be bold as a lion. How can you be a Christian and live in fear? You’ve got to stop that. That’s not of God. God didn’t give you that spirit. I mean, that’s all I can say. Be bold. Don’t be afraid. Step out. There’s more for you than against you. And that’s exactly what I’ve seen.”

Most people — including me — are fearful of looking stupid or cruel.

Ultimately, Jonathan Koeppel is not very intelligent. He is substituting religious zealotry for objective truth. Objective truths are often the results of scientific research. Science is based on evidence. Other truths are the result of what society accepts as constituting common decency.

A set of facts

“Jonathan Koeppel is entitled to believe anything he wants. … When Koeppel promotes beliefs that harm others then he is being a bigot.”

  1. Some people are gender incongruent. Their gender does not match their natal sex.
  2. The existence of gender incongruent (gender dysphoric) people has been in the medical literature for well over 100 years.
  3. According to the Endocrine society:
    Considerable scientific evidence has emerged demonstrating a durable biological element underlying gender identity.
  4. Acute gender dysphoria is a potentially disabling medical condition.
  5. People with gender dysphoria are at great risk for self-harm.
  6. The only intervention known to medical science to treat the condition is for the affected person to affirm their gender.
  7. Research demonstrates that gender identity conversion efforts lead to a lifetime of adverse mental health consequence.
  8. The American Academy of Pediatrics has based its clinical practice standards on the gender-affirming care model.
  9. Transgender kids are particularly vulnerable.
  10. Transgender kids do very well when they are supported in their gender identity.

“Bigots should have no place teaching in public schools.”

Koeppel is quoted as saying: “We want to teach education, not Left-wing ideas that aren’t backed up by facts or science.” It is common among transphobic crackpots to claim that biology supports their “logic.” That is based upon selective observation; a logical fallacy formed by confirmation bias.

Not to nitpick but “teaching education” is training teachers. Koeppel was unable to find the appropriate noun.

The science is unambiguous. Gender identity is a construct independent of natal sex. That is the overwhelming consensus despite the assertions of Defenders of the Faith like Michelle Cretella or Paul McHugh (neither of whom have supported their views with research published to respected, peer-reviewed academic journals.)

Unlike transgender kids, Jonathan Koeppel can make some choices. He can accept the facts which are based on evidence or he can dispute them.

If Koeppel disputes the facts then he is doing so due to faith-based religious doctrine. The science that Koeppel doesn’t like is clear and compelling.

Whether or not he accepts the underlying science regarding trans kids should be irrelevant to his behavior. As a teacher he has a duty to ensure that every kid is treated with kindness and respect.

Statements like “[a] man cannot lactate” are intended to marginalize trans persons. Koeppel is asserting that gender identity is an invalid construct.

Efforts to marginalize transgender persons are neither kind nor respectful. Those efforts attempt to rob the dignity of people Jonathan Koeppel disapproves of.

Jonathan Koeppel is entitled to believe anything he wants. If Koeppel wants to deify chopped liver that’s fine with me. When Koeppel promotes beliefs that harm others then he is being a bigot.

Bigots should have no place teaching in public schools.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.