A public charter school in Minnesota has caved to transgender militants in teaching kindergarteners about transgender theory, requiring them to use transgender students’ preferred pronouns, and creating unisex bathrooms.
Last year, David and Hannah Edwards complained to Nova Classical Academy in St. Paul that their five–year-old “transgender” son was being bullied by students who laughed when he came to school dressed like a girl. When the school didn’t institute a transgender policy that fully satisfied them, the Edwards submitted a complaint to the city’s Department of Human Rights.
The Edwards did this although the school adopted a temporary plan to accommodate their son. The policy included implementing a “toolbox” of transgender books teachers would read to the kindergarteners, and enforcing an anti-bullying code.
That policy was made permanent last week, including requiring students to use preferred pronouns and share bathroom facilities with a child of the opposite sex. The policy states that “gender non-conforming” students should be protected from bullying, that they can wear the uniform that matches their gender perception, and that they will be able to use the bathroom of the sex they choose.
If You Object You’re a Bigot
When parents protested the transgender policy, emphasizing that the school already has an anti-bullying policy that applies to everyone, the school labeled them religious extremists and continued to look for ways to accommodate the Edwards’ young boy who thinks he’s a girl.
Brooke Tousignant, Nova’s Lower School principal, sent a letter to parents in the fall, saying that the school needs to adapt to the growing diversity within society and the school population. The goal, she wrote, is focusing on “acceptance and inclusion.”
The school’s executive director, Eric Williams, told parents the school must adopt a transgender policy because it’s required by federal law under Title IX. This, however, is simply not true. Title IX does not mention transgenderism and only focuses on biological sex, which is male or female.
This was a point emphasized by parents who protested the school’s approval of a policy that is essentially a form of indoctrination and intimidation. According to one parent who has been on the front lines of the protest against the school’s adoption of these policies, Nova indicated in the beginning that bathrooms were not part of the discussion. All they seemed to want to focus on was teaching the kids about transgenderism, said Nicholas Zinos. But soon parents began to suspect the Edwards family would not be content with just educating the young students about transgenderism.
“It eventually surfaced that the Edwardses were asking for the full implementation of the St. Paul Public School Gender Identity Policy,” Zinos said, “which includes mixed restrooms and locker rooms, and enforces the use of ‘gender preferred pronouns.’”
This was made evident when the school hosted a transgender activist, Todd Savage, to speak at “parent education night.” When speaking about mixed bathrooms, Savage said, “get parents and students to accept transgenderism first, then later go for the bathroom issue.”
According to Zinos, this is exactly what happened, and anyone who voiced opposition was labeled a bigot. To push back against the school’s inevitable surrender to the transgender agenda, parents decided to stage their own “countertalk” to give parents another perspective on the issue and to help them understand that Title IX doesn’t address transgenderism and that parents have a right to disagree with transgender behavior under the First Amendment.
No Free Speech or Association for You
“We were lucky enough to find Autumn Leva, Esq., of the Minnesota Family Council to come and give a talk,” Zinos said. “We decided that since this was a Nova issue, and Nova opened its space for public use after hours, we would have the event at Nova (though not sponsored or paid for by the school). The school legally had no choice but to let us have our talk, but the attorney for the school, Laura Booth, told each member of the Board of Directors at Nova that they were not allowed to attend the talk, because such attendance could be construed as bullying the transgender boy.”
According to Zinos, about 150 people attended the countertalk, which met protests from transgender activists, who stood outside wearing purple shirts and referring to those who opposed the transgender policy as hateful, bigoted, and cold-hearted.
Despite parents raising legitimate concerns about exposing their young children to this highly politicized subject, the school caved to the Edwards family and eventually gave them everything they wanted, including mixed bathrooms and preferred pronouns. Despite this effort, the Edwards still removed their child from the school so he could make his “transition” elsewhere.
As I wrote previously at The Federalist, the American College of Pediatricians issued a report that says “helping” children become the sex they imagine themselves to be is abusive: “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.”
No one is born with an awareness of themselves as male or female; this awareness develops over time and, like all developmental processes, may be derailed by a child’s subjective perceptions, relationships, and adverse experiences from infancy forward. People who identify as ‘feeling like the opposite sex’ or ‘somewhere in between’ do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women.
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” as many as “98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.”
In response to the push for normalizing transgenderism, the American College of Pediatricians is urging “educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality.” This is a point Zinos made when he publicly opposed the Board of Directors and their decision to adopt a transgender policy at Nova:
Many of the advocates for gender fluidity have labeled their opponents as religious zealots or fanatics. But the truth be told, what is happening here at Nova and across the nation with regard to the transgender movement is not primarily a religious question but a philosophical one. It is not necessary to turn to the Bible to discern the existential and ontological truths written in the book of nature. Nature is herself the teacher, and nature, which abides by her own laws, shows us that human beings are born male or female, and that their biology defines who they are. As Freud said: ‘anatomy is destiny.’
“When one questions the wisdom of gender fluidity, when one stands against the latest fad or stands up for the truth, we are silenced, censored, ridiculed, mocked, and driven out,” Zinos said. “No, we do not need turn to religious arguments to defend our claims or show the path forward for Nova. The answer is found in the classical texts that you use to teach our children year after year.”
The Left is claiming that people like Zinos and other concerned parents and citizens are bullying transgender people. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real bullies are those like the Edwards who used their child—who is only five years old—to bully an entire community to submit to an authoritarian agenda.
The Edwardses, and the transgender activists they enlisted to help them, threatened the school, twisted the law, rallied protestors, intimidated and bullied anyone who opposed them, and then threatened legal action. This is how the militant LGBT community gets its way, and it won’t stop in Minnesota. It will spread throughout the country unless it is stopped by those who won’t cower to political correctness and who refuse to give in to a tyrannical relativism that flies in the face of common sense and nature.