Assumptions are powerful.
When we accept an assumption as true, then we easily buy into the conclusion.
But what if the assumption is wrong?
Here is an assumption to consider: Bill 10 and the sexual orientation and gender identity policies being implemented in schools across Alberta are all about protection of a very vulnerable population. They’re about human rights, equality, protection, inclusion and respect for diversity.
Laudable goals, indeed.
If we accept this assumption as true then it is easy to buy into the conclusion – the conclusion that any dissenting voices are against inclusion, respecting diversity, LGBTQ, equality, etc. and that those people should justifiably be labeled.
But what if that fundamental assumption is flawed?
What if it’s not about all those things, but about something else entirely?
I’m going to suggest it is about something else. Because as a teacher, a parent, a citizen and a reasonable, rational human being, I firmly believe that if it was just about protection of some vulnerable kids we could have solved this whole issue so very easily and all moved on.
Read the letter to the editor I wrote, published by the Alberta Teachers’ Association in the Feb 23rd ATA News, in which I expressed how un-necessary it seemed to require any mandatory LGBTQ policies in the first place.
From a rational perspective, the solution isn’t actually that complicated.
Yet, we can’t move on. Our society is stuck. We continue to be subjected to the rhetoric, the extreme policies that go far beyond just accommodating some vulnerable kids, and the deluge of labels and accusations of various phobias.
We are stuck in a rut that is plastered with rainbows, suffering from an unprecedented fixation on bathrooms.
A rational person can see that if this were really about protecting a few vulnerable kids in schools, we could have solved this challenge long ago.
So then, what is it about?
Well, let’s start with a little history lesson.
Let’s go back almost 30 years to examine a 1987 article called “The Overhauling of Straight America”, which was eventually expanded to a book called “After the Ball” in 1989.
The article was authored by Marshall Kirk, a Harvard educated neuropsychiatry researcher, and Dr Hunter Madsen (pseudonym Erastes Pill), an expert on social marketing and public persuasion tactics with a Harvard doctorate in politics. The article is minimized nowadays by gay activists, but with a few decades of hindsight, you can judge for yourself the extent of its influence on our society today.
Here are extensive excerpts from the article, which provide 6 strategies to help “change the image of gays in America”:
The first order of business is desensitization of the American public concerning gays and gay rights… At least in the beginning, we are seeking public desensitization and nothing more… A large-scale media campaign will be required in order to change the image of gays in America. And any campaign to accomplish this turnaround should do six things.
(1) Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible. The principle behind this advice is simple: almost any behavior begins to look normal if you are exposed to enough of it… The way to benumb raw sensitivities about homosexuality is to have a lot of people talk a great deal about the subject in a neutral or supportive way. Open and frank talk makes the subject seem less furtive, alien, and sinful, more above-board. Constant talk builds the impression that the public opinion is at least divided on the subject, and that a sizable segment accepts or even practices homosexuality. …The main thing is to talk about gayness until the issue becomes thoroughly tiresome….
Where we talk is important. The visual media, film and television, are plainly the most powerful image-makers in Western civilization. The average American household watches over seven hours of TV daily. Those hours open up a gateway into the private world of straights, through which a Trojan horse might be passed. As far as desensitization is concerned, the medium is the message – of normalcy. So far, gay Hollywood has provided our best covert weapon in the battle to desensitize the mainstream. Bit by bit over the past ten years, gay characters and gay themes have been introduced into TV programs and films…
While public opinion is one primary source of mainstream values, religious authority is the other… First, we can use talk to muddy the moral waters. This means publicizing support for gays by more moderate churches… Second, we can undermine the moral authority of homophobic churches by portraying them as antiquated backwaters, badly out of step with the times and with the latest findings of psychology…
(2) Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers. In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be cast as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to assume the role of protector. If gays are presented, instead, as a strong and prideful tribe promoting a rigidly nonconformist and deviant lifestyle, they are more likely to be seem as a public menace that justifies resistance and oppression. For that reason, we must forego the temptation to strut our “gay pride” publicly when it conflicts with the Gay Victim image. And we must walk the fine line between impressing straights with our great numbers, on the one hand, and sparking their hostile paranoia –“They are all around us!” — on the other…
Now, there are two different messages about the Gay Victim that are worth communicating. First, the mainstream should be told that gays are victims of fate, in the sense that most never had a choice to accept or reject their sexual preference. The message must read: “As far as gays can tell, they were born gay, just as you were born heterosexual or white or black or bright or athletic. Nobody ever tricked or seduced them; they never made a choice, and are not morally blameworthy. What they do isn’t willfully contrary — it’s only natural for them. This twist of fate could as easily have happened to you!” Straight viewers must be able to identify with gays as victims….
By the way, we realize that many gays will question an advertising technique which might threaten to make homosexuality look like some dreadful disease which strikes fated “victims.” But the plain fact is that the gay community is weak and must manipulate the powers of the weak, including the play for sympathy…
(3) Give protectors a just cause. A media campaign that casts gays as society’s victims and encourages straights to be their protectors must make it easier for those who respond to assert and explain their new perspectives. Few straight women, and even fewer straight men, will want to defend homosexuality boldly as such. Most would rather attach their awakened protective impulse to some principle of justice or law, to some general desire for consistent and fair treatment in society. Our campaign should not demand direct support for homosexual practices, but should instead take anti-discrimination as its theme…
(4) Make gays look good. In order to make a Gay Victim sympathetic to straights you have to portray him as Everyman… Along the same lines, we shouldn’t overlook the Celebrity Endorsement…
(5) Make the victimizers look bad. At a later stage of the media campaign for gay rights — long after other gay ads have become commonplace — it will be time to get tough with remaining opponents. To be blunt, they must be vilified… The public should be shown images of ranting homophobes whose secondary traits and beliefs disgust middle America…
(6) Solicit funds: the bucks stop here. Any massive campaign of this kind would require unprecedented expenditures for months or even years — an unprecedented fundraising drive. Effective advertising is a costly proposition: several million dollars would get the ball rolling… The appeal should be directed both at gays and at straights who care about social justice… There would be no parallel to such an effort in the history of the gay community in America. If it failed to generate the needed capital to get started, there would be little hope for the campaign and little hope for major progress toward gay rights in the near future…
Getting on the Air, or, You Can’t Get There from Here Without access to TV, radio, and the mainstream press, there will be no campaign… The words “gay” and “homosexual” are considered controversial whenever they appear. Because most straightforward appeals are impossible, the National Gay Task Force has had to cultivate quiet backroom liaisons with broadcast companies and newsrooms in order to make sure that issues important to the gay community receive some coverage…
[Visual Stage] Format C for Victim Sympathy: Our Campaign to Stop Child Abuse…The camera slowly moves in on a middle-class teenager, sitting alone in his semi-darkened bedroom. The boy is pleasing and unexceptional in appearance, except that he has been roughed up and is staring silently, pensively, with evident distress. As the camera gradually focuses in on his face, a narrator comments: It will happen to one in every ten sons. As he grows up, he will realize that he feels differently about things than most of his friends. If he lets it show, he’ll be an outsider, made fun of, humiliated, attacked. If he confides in his parents, they may throw him out of the house, onto the streets. Some will say he is “anti-family.” Nobody will let him be himself. So he will have to hide. From his friends, his family. And that’s hard. It’s rough enough to be a kid these days, but to be the one in ten…
What is nice about such an ad is that it would economically portray gays as innocent and vulnerable, victimized and misunderstood, surprisingly numerous yet not menacing…
The Time is Now We have sketched out here a blueprint for transforming the social values of straight America. At the core of our program is a media campaign to change the way the average citizens view homosexuality.
Fascinating, isn’t it?
So how does the knowledge of these techniques from 1987 apply to our education system today?
Well, let’s try entertaining a different fundamental assumption for a moment:
What if Bill 10 and the new educational policies being implemented across Alberta are not so much about protection after all, but more about promotion?
The reason gaining control over schools is such a prize is because once you have control over schools and the children within them, you have control over the future. Normally we see this is a positive advantage – we want to influence the future by developing students who become healthy, contributing members of our society.
But not everyone’s motives are so altruistic.
Minister of Education David Eggen claims to be a “student of history”. If so, I would expect him to be familiar with the many historical examples of education systems that were exploited through a deliberate removal of parental influence, followed by the transmission of an ideology onto a willing, impressionable next generation – the idea of conquering through “evolution of thought” vs revolution.
And he should also know that not one of those historical examples are fondly remembered for their practice of democratic principles.
The fact is that when an ideology can be normalized and allowed to permeate an education system, especially in the absence of parental support, an entire generation is more easily converted.
It is the reason why our education system so vigilantly guards against “proselytizing”, even within faith-based alternative programs.
We recognize that K-12 children are a captive, impressionable audience and that we live in a pluralistic, multicultural society. We must therefore respect that it is never the role of an education system in a free, democratic society for any one cultural, religious or non-religious value system to be imposed on all students.
That is why it is so surprising that into this vacuum of morality we would be so quick to welcome any ideology to permeate our hallways and the minds of our K-12 children and allow it to trump any sort of consideration for the values and beliefs of children and families.
And if perchance any of that ideology happens to be contrary to the belief systems of children and their families, then should the school have license to suggest that it is the backwards, antiquated, “homophobic/transphobic” value systems of those families that are the problem, not the “progressive” ideology being proposed?
Imagine if Bill 7 & 10 were the welcome mat and the LGBTQ policies spawned by the Guidelines are the open door. Who is now ready to walk in?
The Genderbread Person, of course.
The Genderbread Person personifies the new “normal” way of teaching children in our school system about how to understand gender identity and sexual orientation, both of which now exist on many different spectra with infinite possibilities. It is already being taught to teachers across the province in professional development sessions by Dr. Kristopher Wells and through the Alberta Teachers’ Association.
Forget the restrictive binary curricula of the days when you and I were in school.
Instead, school boards such as The Calgary Board of Education have submitted policies stating that “it is best to give children room to express their gender in ways that feel natural to them and to not “box” them in and hold them to any particular gender rules”, teaching children that “Gender identity can also be fluid rather than static and change over time.” (page 5-38).
For an enlarged image and more explanation of the Genderbread Person, feel free to click the image below.
This concept is already being presented to our Alberta students as a normalized perspective of sexuality.
Here is a message I received a few weeks ago from a friend about a concerned older brother describing a school presentation by Calgary Sexual Health Centre to his sister’s Grade 7 class in Calgary:
“My youngest sister came home upset from sex ed yesterday. The guest speaker in her class taught that gender is in the mind, totally separate from the body. That for the purposes of sexuality and puberty, there are no males and females but “people with penises” and “people with vaginas”. That “some people” grow more facial hair than others. The speaker lumped the changes that come with puberty (breast development, facial hair, etc.) together into one degendered list. According to my sister, many of her classmates were confused. Some of them, not knowing what else to think, just accepted it.
Well, I don’t believe it. And I don’t think many people do. We believe there are such things as male bodies and female bodies,that gender corresponds with chromosomes and primary sex characteristics. The problem is that people with ordinary beliefs aren’t generally the ones volunteering to write sex ed curriculum or give presentations about sex to children. I don’t think this means kids need to be pulled out of sex ed, but I think it does mean that parents now will have to thoroughly educate their kids at young ages so they can reject the garbage they hear from guest speakers, and maybe help their classmates reject it too.”
So, given all this information, Albertans need to question whether the assumptions we’ve been led to believe are actually true.
And the Minister of Education, along with all other MLAs and school board trustees, have some new conclusions to consider:
- Stop masquerading Bill 10 and many of the new educational policies as measures that protect diversity. Instead label them for what they are: an opportunity to promote and normalize a specific gender ideology to all K-12 students, regardless of whether it blatantly violates the deeply held beliefs of children and families and the rational sensibilities of many Albertans. And while we’re at it, please stop claiming we live in a democracy when tens of thousands of reasonable, concerned voices are either ignored or labeled as bigotry.
- Amend Bill 10 and reject any school board policies, such as those submitted by Calgary Board of Education, that go far beyond accommodations necessary to support the needs of vulnerable students. Ensure that parental involvement is fully supported and that our K-12 children are protected from manipulative activist agendas of any type that attempt to exploit them as an impressionable, captive audience. Instead, demonstrate a thoughtful balance of accommodations that guarantees a respect for all the diversity that makes up our great province. These are the reasons I will be joining hundreds of other concerned Albertans in Calgary and Edmonton on May 14th at 2 p.m. for a peaceful rally.
Rational people cannot accept two simultaneous contradictory positions. Don’t insult Albertans by claiming to do one thing with our children and actually doing something else.
As I’ve said before, the well-being of all our children is far too valuable to be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.
Let’s stop fixating on bathrooms and start dealing with the real issues.
**MAY 15th UPDATE: As referenced above, we had anticipated hundreds to join us to protest Bill 10 and the Guidelines at our peaceful rallies in Calgary and Edmonton yesterday.
Instead, THOUSANDS showed up.
Albertans have clearly spoken this weekend.
Perhaps our elected officials best start listening.