Byron “Tanner” Cross takes the opportunity to prove that he is an obtuse imbecile.
I am beyond outraged that the Washington Post would publish an OpEd by Tanner Cross. It is no different than giving a platform to David Duke who “disagrees” with a policy.
You will recall that the Loudoun County, Virginia school board proposed, as policy, requiring teachers to use gender-affirming pronouns. Byron “Tanner” Cross told the school board: “I serve God first and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it’s against my religion. It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”
A state court, in defiance of Supreme Court precedent (Garcetti v. Ceballos), enjoined Leesburg Elementary School from its suspension of Cross while his case makes its way through the courts.
According to Tanner Cross (via the Washington Post): I was suspended from my teaching job for voicing concern for my students.
Bullshit. Mr. Cross’ concern was for his deity, his Church and his apparently fragile ego. Students never factored into Cross’ bigoted views. Moreover, he was suspended (with pay) because of his potential to be disruptive.
Furthermore, there is a difference between voicing disagreement and saying that you will not adhere to policy. Cross’ choices are to either accept policy or resign if he cannot comply.
According to the putz’s OpEd:
As with other teachers in the district, I was troubled when the school board proposed a new policy that would require teachers to use a student’s preferred pronouns regardless of whether they correspond to that student’s biological sex (or anything else, for that matter). I believe this policy harms teachers by forcing them to affirm things to their students and about their students that they don’t believe are true.
“Which is worse: Cross saying something that he does not believe to be true or damaging a child’s psyche?”
Cross is apparently a dogmatist. He accepts, as incontrovertible truth, religious doctrine regardless of evidence and expert opinion to the contrary. Therefore, Mr. Cross’ definition of truth is not objective truth.
Furthermore, Cross is self-centered. As is typical of dogmatists is obvious that he has not had the intellectual curiosity to learn about this issue. Moreover, he obviously has not considered how his behavior adversely affects kids. He simply doesn’t care.
This is not just a social construct. As a teacher Cross is in a position of authority. When he does not address a transgender student according to how the student chooses to be addressed then he does violence to that student. Trans kids are vulnerable enough without adding morons to the mix.
So let’s simply balance the issue:
Moreover, at the risk of repeating myself, what Cross believes is truth is not scientific truth. In other words, the ignorant blowhard is wrong on all counts.
A feeble attempt to provide a rationale:
I also believe this policy could harm my students. Some people who identified as transgender as children and ultimately transitioned regret that decision and feel they were led astray by the adults who advised them. I think the district’s proposed policy will do the same thing for some children in Loudoun County. This is the last thing I want for my students.
“Of course, Mr. Cross has no interest in the science or the peer-reviewed research.”
First of all, what Cross believes is not based on evidence or the findings of medical science. Cross is in no position to substitute his judgment as a gym teacher for the scientific consensus. Transgender children who are supported in their gender are healthy and happy. Transgender children who are not supported in their gender are at significant risk for self harm.
Secondly, he told the school board that he based his opinion, in part, on a segment which aired on 60 Minutes. That program included desisters. I did not watch the show but my understanding is that those desisters transitioned as adults many years ago. They bear no relevance to a trans kid.
Thirdly, what he is saying makes no sense. What he is essentially claiming is that there is some connection to treating kids kindly and their potential desistance. Moreover, according to the science, most kids for whom gender dysphoria resolves, never transition in the first place.
Of course, Mr. Cross has no interest in the science or the peer-reviewed research.
There’s no mistake about what’s going on; the school district is making an example out of me in front of all other teachers who disagree with these policies. I’m not the only teacher who wants to be honest with my students, even when it’s uncomfortable. Some of us are concerned that the proposed policies would harm students and require us to affirm what we believe isn’t true. But I’m the first one to speak publicly about it. The school district is threatening other teachers into silence.
Cross’ religious beliefs have no place in public school policy. Period.
Indulge my former CEO perspective. I used to tell newly promoted managers that the best way to get terminated is to not tell me I am wrong when you think I am wrong. Do so in the presence of other managers but never in the presence of subordinates.
Part of that participative culture is this: Once everyone has been heard (who should be heard) and a decision is made then you are required to adhere to that decision.
Mr. Cross was arrogant. Not only did he disagree with the proposed policy but he said that he would not comply. That is unacceptable in any organization.
Furthermore, Cross insists that he “wants to be honest with [his] students.” Honesty is derived from objective truth. Articles of faith do not reflect honesty. You will recall that Cross told the school board “I serve God” and “it’s against my religion.”
Cross’ religious beliefs have no place in public school policy. Period.
Furthermore, Cross was suspended after the public forum. His suspension had no effect on other teachers airing their views. Therefore, the statement that “[t]he school district is threatening other teachers into silence” is a lie.
The guy simply doesn’t get it. Nor does he respect the fact that he is an employee. He is also someone who, as a teacher, others will view as authoritative:
I am a teacher, but I’m also a husband, a member of my community and a citizen. Like everyone else, I have views and opinions that I want to share and advocate for. Advocating for causes I believe in on my personal time should not cost me my job. Public schools should not punish teachers like me for sharing their beliefs.
“The fact that the bigoted speech is based on religion does not make it any less bigoted.”
So, if a teacher speaks up in a public forum and says: “I believe that all Muslims are terrorists,” that’s perfectly okay with Mr. Cross. How about: “According to my religion Jews are depraved for not accepting Jesus Christ as lord and savior?”
Or: “According to my religion Black people are inferior.” Or: “Don’t expect me not to tell gay kids that they should submit to conversion therapy. According to my religion they are ‘objectively disordered.'”
What Cross is saying is that transgender people do not exist. They are people who are confused and have made very poor choices. Cross’ expression is no different from islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism and homophobia.
The United States does not have a law banning hate speech (nor should we). That does not mean that all speech is acceptable in a public forum. The fact that the bigoted speech is based on religion does not make it any less bigoted.
By the way, the state court’s decision to require the school to reinstate Cross is somewhat meaningless given that the school is on summer break and the fact that Cross was suspended with pay. Moreover, I am not arguing that Cross should have been suspended or terminated.
My argument is that his speech is transphobic and utterly unacceptable. His views are potentially harmful to already marginalized and particularly vulnerable kids.