Nick Bell
Conspiracy theorist Nick Bell | via The Federalist

I should probably avoid — for my own mental hygiene — reading articles at The Federalist.

Monday, our idiot du jour is Nick Bell, who had some minor position in the Department of Education under Trump. Figures. According to Mr. Bell: McAuliffe Agrees Public Schools Should Not Tell Parents If Their Child Is ‘Gender Fluid.’

Nick Bell is neither a deep critical thinker nor intellectually curious. His title misrepresents Virginia public policy. Moreover, the only people who seem to use the term “gender fluid” are transphobic Christian crazies.

Bell’s grasp of facts doesn’t get much better:

Hiding children’s gender confusion from parents is now current policy in Virginia schools, proudly endorsed by Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

Not exactly. Moreover, the people who use the term “gender confusion” (whatever the hell that is) are the same cranks who insist on using the term “gender fluid.”

The facts are that some kids are gender incongruent. Not many but some. Their gender identity does not match their natal sex. This condition, known as gender dysphoria, can cause considerable distress and induce severe risk of self-harm if not treated in accordance with the gender-affirming care model.

A very small percentage of gender incongruent kids have parents who are not aware of their medical condition. That is usually because the kid fears rejection and/or punishment.

Public policy provides for respecting students’ confidentiality, particularly when they discuss their sexuality with a school counselor. There are at least four reasons for this:

“It is profoundly sinister to adversely use kids with a medical condition as a means of influencing a political campaign.”

  1. Only the student is capable of estimating parental reaction to gender nonconforming thinking or behavior. Schools do not want to needlessly put kids at risk.
  2. The policy of the professional organizations representing school counselors is to respect student confidentiality.
  3. Moreover, not respecting confidentiality might prevent a student from seeking help. Furthermore, a counselor can help a student discuss the matter with their parents. That will not happen if students are dissuaded from getting counseling in the first place.
  4. As any right wing Christian will tell you, for most kids, gender dysphoria is a temporary condition.*

In other words, schools are not conspirators “hiding” information from parents. Schools have a professional obligation to respect the privacy of their students. And I will repeat:

  1. Only a tiny percentage of kids experience some degree of gender dysphoria.
  2. Only a very small percentage of those who experience the condition have not discussed the problem with their parents.

Gender incongruent kids are not confused. Nick Bell is confused:

The number of youth confused about their gender is up over 1,000 percent.

1,000%? According to whom and over what period of time? There is some increase in trans youth due to the fact that individuals are transitioning earlier in life in accordance with medical science. However, the total transgender population has been pretty stable at about 0.5% to 0.6% of the population.

“The focus on transgender issues is an attempt to create a wedge issue to influence the outcome on an election.”

He gets worse:

New genders without parental consent. Pitting parents against children. Terry McAuliffe’s education agenda is bad for Virginia.

First of all, it’s not a “new gender.” It is an incongruent gender identity that Nick Bell does not approve of. Moreover:

The focus on transgender issues is an attempt to create a wedge issue to influence the outcome on an election.

It is profoundly sinister to adversely use kids with a medical condition as a means of influencing a political campaign. This rhetoric damages already vulnerable children. Mr. Bell doesn’t seem to consider the consequences.

Bell is correct about Virginia law. In 2020 the Commonwealth of Virginia passed a law, which the governor signed, regarding the treatment of transgender children in public schools. Mr. Bell proceeds to out himself as a bigot (and a Republican operative):

The model policies came out in April of this year, and they are frightening. McAuliffe proudly endorses them on his website. They mandate co-ed bathrooms for all, force teachers and students to accept and use new names and pronouns, and clear the way for boys to participate in girls’ sports.

“Frightening” to whom exactly? Defenders of the Faith who pretend that transgender persons do not really exist? What is so terrible about using pronouns that are consistent with a student’s gender identity? Contrast that with the potential consequences of shaming trans youth. People do not use gender appropriate pronouns in order to display their disapproval on religious grounds. Is that really essential?

Furthermore, there is no issue of “boys” participating in girls’s sports. The issue is transgender girls participating in girls’ sports. The science supports doing so. It is only an issue because conservative Christians disapprove of transgender persons.

What? Do you really believe that the controversy has something to do with the athletic fairness? Look who is pushing the discord. The NCAA has had a trans inclusive policy in place for about ten years without controversy.

“Bell is acting as a bigoted Republican operative at the expense of children with a medical condition that he does not approve of.”

Once again, “gender confused” bullshit:

Don’t Tell Parents If Their Child Is Gender Confused

The most pernicious aspect of the model policies is the alarming mandate that schools not tell parents if their son or daughter has adopted a new gender at school: “If a student is not ready or able to safely share with their family about their gender identity, this should be respected.”

First of all, this applies to a minuscule subset of gender nonconforming kids. Secondly, what makes Mr. Bell believe that a school should risk the safety of a child? Could it possibly be religious opprobrium? Moreover, this is about respecting a student’s determination which only the student is qualified to make.

Were it not for Christian blowhards like Bell, students would not fear confiding in their parents. Furthermore, the Vatican is responsible for a great deal of misinformation and misery with respect to sexual minority youth. They are defending ancient texts.

Mr. expert:

Apparently, McAuliffe has no objection to schools giving teachers the green light to deceive parents about their children’s adoption of a false identity.

If this idiot would read the science instead of scripture he might realize that the “false identity” is present when the student is hiding their sexuality. Again, Bell is acting as a bigoted Republican operative at the expense of children with a medical condition that he does not approve of.

Our expert is also a source for approval polls while relishing his own ignorance:

Few people agree with the lie pushed by the media and corporate America that one can change one’s sex.

“… real wisdom (conventional or not) is derived from erudition in contrast to political advantage.”

Who is lying? No one — no one — is claiming that people can change their sex. Chromosomes are a reality. Furthermore, people cannot change their gender identity. If they could then gender dysphoria would not exist.

Moreover, information about transgender youth does not emanate from the media or corporate America. They are convenient straw men. What we know about trans persons emanates from medical science. Science is not subject to opinion polling. Science is based on evidence.

An admission of creating a wedge issue:

Youngkin Should Condemn This Dangerous Policy

Conventional wisdom dictates that establishing a strong contrast with McAuliffe on this matter makes gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin appear to take a side in the culture wars, which in turn could motivate suburbanites in left-leaning Northern Virginia to turn out for McAuliffe.

First of all, real wisdom (conventional or not) is derived from erudition in contrast to political advantage. Secondly, there is nothing “dangerous” about accommodating gender nonconforming students. Not accommodating them poses a serious danger to their health.

This goes on at some length. Nick Bell goes on to say that sensible school policies regarding gender nonconforming youth create a “dystopian nightmare.” Actually, using kids who are part of an especially vulnerable minority creates a sociopathic nightmare.

Note: I have used gender nonconforming as an umbrella term because most of the affected kids will never become transgender.

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* The persistence of gender dysphoria directly correlates to the severity of the condition. Kids who desist are not those who transition. Transitioning is generally limited to those who are the most seriously affected.

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.