Exploitation of children is rampant today. Just check out this video posted to the Facebook page of LGBTinthecity. It’s an interview with eight-year-old drag queen “Lactatia,” who tells the audience “If you want to be a drag queen and your parents don’t let you, you need new parents!” At about 3:00 in the video you can watch him dance provocatively—or “twerk”—surrounded by a crowd of raucous adults at an LGBT nightclub event in Montreal.
Some would say Lactatia is being authentic. No, he’s not. He’s projecting a persona. And it’s obviously a persona he’s been groomed to project. Insecure kids will imitate and recite practically anything that gets them positive reinforcement. This is especially true if they’ve never been taught to discern reality and think clearly.
Another example of such behavior is the little boy twerking at an LGBT pride parade a couple of years ago. Or the eight-year-old whose performance in a New York pride parade was praised by Perez Hilton.
Such performances aren’t enough to satisfy the LGBT lobby, though. Consider a new propagandistic “transgender toy” introduced to “teach” kids and parents that sex distinctions aren’t real. Trans activists are also pushing hard for laws that prohibit parents from even affirming their child’s biological sex.
This is echoed not only in Lactatia’s proclamation that such parents should be replaced, but in recent laws that have actually been passed under the guise of anti-discrimination, such as in Illinois and in the Canadian province of Ontario. Those laws serve to seek out and dismiss any public employee who works with children but does not affirm transgenderism and homosexuality. They also serve to prohibit placing children into foster families who affirm biological sex differences.
What Would Mr. Rogers Say?
All of this recent activity has me wondering how the late Fred Rogers would react if he could survey this landscape. As host of the beloved public television show for young children, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” he appreciated the simplicity, innocence, and wonder of being a child.
Ironically, Rogers continues to be a darling of the political Left, well beyond his death in 2003. About 80 folks from the Fred Rogers Center partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative Conference in 2013, per Hillary Clinton’s focus on early childhood education.
Indeed, Rogers had a soft spot for pacificism and environmentalism. As early as the 1960s, he helped kids explore hobbies and interests not traditionally associated with their sex. He is perhaps most admired for telling his little viewers, “I like you just the way you are.”
Some might interpret this to mean Rogers would have been a proponent of affirming transgenderism in children—perhaps therefore a strong proponent of injecting hormone blockers into them in preparation for an easier surgical transition. Or that he would support males using girls sports to tilt the playing field in their favor. Well, I beg to differ with such interpretations.
Despite the coziness of the Fred Rogers Center with advocates of left-wing politics, if you search for the terms “transgender” or “gender identity” or “LGBT” on its website, all searches so far come up with “no posts found.” Maybe that’s because the foundation claims to be “staying true” to his vision and legacy. But maybe it’s just a matter of time before they pop up, since gender ideology inevitably marinates everything.
After all, the Obama administration made a point of enforcing transgenderism in all aspects of life, including education, the corporate world, and the military. For the moment, anyhow, the Fred Rogers legacy and transgender advocacy are not hand in glove. In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that Rogers made a point of helping children affirm the sex into which they were born. Repeatedly.
‘Everybody’s Fancy. Everybody’s Fine’
Rogers wrote his famous ditty “Everybody’s Fancy” in 1967. He continued singing it on his show into the 1990s. It’s about children’s discovery of differences between themselves and others, specifically their discovery of sex differences. At some point in early development, children realize that some people have penises and others don’t. Or, as Rogers put it: “Some are fancy on the outside. Some are fancy on the inside.”
The point of the song is to reassure children that these differences are not only natural, but something with which they should be completely at peace. That’s because we were all born “as a boy baby” or “as a girl baby.” Either way, Mr. Rogers assures every child that he or she is special. Children should not reject the physical reality of their bodies, but simply accept the reality so they can place their focus outward, on all of the marvels of the world.
Unfortunately, the gender ideology being mandated into so much sex education today urges children to obsess on sex differences as something that is not real for anybody, but “assigned at birth” for everybody. That would make Rogers’ song heretical and very politically incorrect. Just consider these lyrics:
Some are fancy on the outside.
Some are fancy on the inside.
Your body’s fancy and so is mine.
Boys are boys from the beginning. [Spoken: When you’re born a boy baby, you grow up to be a bigger boy, and then a man]
Girls are girls right from the start. [Spoken: When you’re born a girl baby, You grow up to be a bigger girl, and then a woman]
Your body’s fancy and so is mine.
Girls grow up to be the mommies.
Boys grow up be the daddies.
Your body’s fancy and so is mine.
I think you’re a special person
And I like your ins and outsides.
Your body’s fancy and so is mine.
Will the memory-holing of “Everybody’s Fancy” begin soon? You can still hear Mr. Rogers singing “Everybody’s Fancy” on the PBSkids Website (as long as you have the proper sound software). You can also take a listen here. But the only video clip I can find of him singing it on YouTube is this badly out-of-synch and incomplete one:
A complete list of the 50 episodes in which he sang this song is on the Neighborhood Archive and all just ran in a May-June marathon of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” on TwitchTv.
But the political incorrectness of the song today is no doubt startling to leftist elites. Just consider that after singing the line “Boys are boys from the beginning,” Rogers speaks: “When you’re born a boy baby, you grow up to be a bigger boy and then a man!” Likewise, after singing “Girls are girls right from the start,” Rogers says, “When you’re born a girl baby, you grow up to be a bigger girl, and then a woman!”
The Pressure to ‘Evolve’ and Disavow
Fred Rogers died in 2003. But if he were still alive and didn’t disavow that song, would he be pressured with charges that the song’s message is “transphobic?” Sadly, the answer is likely yes, given today’s trans-saturated media and what we know of Rogers’ status with the Left. Hillary loved him. Rosie O’Donnell loved him. In his day, Mr. Rogers was wildly celebrated and made appearances on many talk shows, including David Letterman and Arsenio Hall.
Now that medical personnel are increasingly being trained not to use the term “expectant mother” so as not to offend pregnant “transmen,” we ought to pay special attention to the lines: “Girls grow up to be the mommies. Boys grow up to be the daddies.” The original version was even more explicit, stating: “Only girls can be the mommies. Only boys can be the daddies.” He later tweaked those lines, likely to be more in tune with more women entering the workforce.
But I’m not sure Rogers would cave to today’s pressures to conform to the transgender narrative, even though, like the Hotel California, once you’ve checked in with the Left you can never leave. A recent Salon article brought up the song, and speculated as to whether Rogers would have “evolved” to reject the “binary” had he been alive to see Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn.
Piloting the Line Between Reality and Fantasy
Nice try, but I don’t think so. Biological sex distinctions are what the song both recognizes and celebrates. It helps children accept their given bodies as the natural source of human creation and understand how they can become mothers and fathers themselves. Even then, sex differences per se are not the entire story of what “Everybody’s Fancy” is about. In a very general sense, it is a song that helps a child navigate reality.
Mr. Rogers was known for offering soothing reassurances to children that they could “never go down the drain” and that getting one’s hair cut doesn’t hurt a bit. He helped them regulate painful and confusing emotions. Even if he leaned left in his politics, he did not badger children into living in a fog of ambiguity, which is exactly what the “trans toy” does to children’s minds. Gender ideology requires gratuitous ambiguity, even at a time when children crave and need certainty and structure. Imposing that ambiguity on them is cruel.
The world can be very scary for a child who cannot discern what is real from what is not. The message of “Everybody’s Fancy” offers children structure and a clearly defined line between reality and fantasy. In fact, you could say that the entire show of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” was about discerning what is physically real from what is a product of the imagination.
For example, when Mr. Rogers was in his real neighborhood, he would visit shopkeepers and talk about how things were made: musical instruments, puppets, bread. Sometimes he’d give a tour of how things were manufactured by machine, like that favorite toddler food, graham crackers.
But when it came time to hear animals talk, or have an everyday conversation with a king, he would announce a visit to the “neighborhood of make-believe.” Then Mr. Rogers would describe to his audience what they would be pretending to do that day. He’d say, for example: “Let’s make believe” such and such about so and so. He even used a little trolley as a transition vehicle for leaving the real neighborhood and crossing the line into the land of make-believe.
After the make-believe session, the trolley would return back to reality. Indeed, in a Television Academy interview in 1999, Rogers stated, “I wanted the children to see that everything in reality was real. So I showed them, underneath, the switch that makes the trolley work. Of course, once it goes to make-believe, then anything can happen.”
How to Use One’s Imagination for Good
Today there is precious little talk about children actually using their imaginations. The difference between reality and fantasy is little noted. Maybe that’s because cyber technologies and devices create so many illusions, especially as we immerse ourselves in social media, cyber-graphics, and political correctness. Perhaps transgenderism is just a predictable outgrowth of our saturation with those illusions, an outgrowth of spending so much time obsessing within our own mental “neighborhoods of make-believe” without a healthy balance of time spent in reality.
But the line has gotten so blurred and so confusing for children precisely because of today’s ideological agendas and polarization. Gender ideology doesn’t simply beckon children into a land of make-believe where they can change their physical sex if they just wish hard enough. It’s a one-way street that cuts off any escape hatch back to reality. This is not the exercise of healthy imagination, but more like cult programming.
A child’s healthy imagination cannot exist in the absence of respect for physical reality. Children must know that they are special and fine “just the way they are,” whether “born a boy baby” or “born a girl baby.”
I don’t know exactly what motivates gender ideologists to use children like “Lactatia” or “trans toys” to push their mindset so hard on all children and all families. But perhaps they should contemplate the following words from the Fred Rogers song: “What Do You Do with the Mad that You Feel?”
It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:
I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.