Equality is a powerful principle, but the so-called Equality Act profoundly distorts it.
All people are equal and should be treated with dignity and respect. But not all ideas are equal, and the government should not force Americans to affirm politically correct and scientifically inaccurate views on sexual matters.
The Equality Act, under consideration in the House of Representatives, will codify political ideology by adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It could force schools to open girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams to biological males who identify as women. Moreover, it could politicize the education of at least 50 million public school students by forcing school districts to follow curricula that introduce students to the concept of sexual preferences and transgender theory, starting as early as pre-K.
It’s already happening at the state and local level — and parents are fighting back.
In the name of “inclusion” for students who identity as gay or transgender, five states (New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado, California, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have ordered that schools teach sexual orientation and gender in numerous classes. These laws weave LGBT teachings into all subjects with no opt-outs.
Parents in 10 other states (Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Florida, and North Carolina) have succeeded in putting limits on this curriculum, but the Equality Act would erase those protections.
The protesting parents, including some with kids who identify as transgender, don’t want schools deciding what and when their children are taught about sexuality, much less infusing every classroom with LGBT perspectives. For example, some states require teaching that Francis Bacon and Emily Dickinson were gay. As Victoria Jakelsky, a New Jersey mom, notes: “When you teach about George Washington, you don’t teach that George Washington had sex with his wife and what he did [in the bedroom]; we teach what George Washington did as a president.”
Virginia mom Maria Keffler points out the website genderspectrum.org identifies curriculum as one of the four “entry points” to get transgender theory into schools. “Entry points,” she says, “are what a thief uses to break into your house. It feels very much the same way to me.”
But LGBT activists accuse these parents of bigotry. For LGBT-identifying students to be fully “included,” they say, requires that 100% of all students be taught to choose their gender identity. But, when a kindergarten teacher in Rocklin, Calif., read I Am Jazz to students, they went home crying, afraid that they “could turn into” the opposite sex without knowing it.
Five-year-olds are imaginative, vulnerable, and innocent. Parents should be able to shield them from premature sexualization and gender confusion, not have the government force it on them via their curriculum.
What LGBT activists don’t teach students and parents are the facts about the irreversible path of “gender transition.” Jazz Jennings, the subject of I Am Jazz, started taking puberty blockers at 11. Eventually, Jennings took cross-sex hormones and underwent “gender-confirmation” surgery. Complications from the attempt to construct female genitalia from male genitalia caused “crazy pain,” Jennings says.
Students also won’t be told that hormone treatments can lead to impaired cognitive ability, greater risk of cancer, and sterility. Roughly 80-95% of gender-dysphoric children who go through puberty without hormones eventually become comfortable with their bodies. But, the Equality Act could bar counselors from helping kids become comfortable with their bodies. It could also put medical professionals who decline to perform hormonal and surgical sex-reassignment procedures in violation of civil rights law.
Trans-activists describe parents who don’t want their children to go down the path of “gender transition” as abusive, equating their choices with denying life-saving treatment for cancer or asthma. In Ohio, one judge already terminated parents’ custody of their daughter after they refused testosterone treatments. The Equality Act would lead to more kids being socialized at school into thinking they are gender fluid at earlier ages and make it harder for parents to find non-invasive treatments for them.
Children are loved, nurtured, and raised by their parents, not the state. Therefore, parents have the duty and the right to educate their children and to seek the best possible medical treatments for them. The Equality Act would wield a misguided understanding of “equality” against parents.
Congress should not be misled. Treating students and their parents with dignity and respect means allowing them to learn and to live according to their own beliefs about sexual matters. Codifying LGBT ideology into a civil right would take away fundamental freedoms from those who don’t conform. That’s not equality; it’s injustice.
This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner