March 4, 2013
The Latest from Massa-choose-sexBy Janet Tassel
Man and woman created He them. Oh yeah? Well, here in Massachusetts that biblical stuff is long gone, trashed for representing patriarchal imperialism, binarism, gender apartheid, cissexism, and other detestable things.
Accordingly, we have recently been sternly reminded that we must get with the program and "cleanse" our schools and ourselves of all "gender distinctions." The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has released a lengthy directive updating the "transgender rights and hate crimes" law that went into effect in July 2012. But last year's law apparently didn't go far enough. According to the intrepid (and much-maligned) pro-family activists at MassResistance, this latest directive is "the most thorough, invasive, and radical transgender initiative ever seen on a statewide level."
So let's take a look at the DESE decree, a bloated and repetitive huff-and-puffer, like all such bureaucratic fiats. (www.doe.mass.edu/) First come the definitions, guidelines to "terminology." Here is one:
Students of "queer theory" will recognize these constructs, which of course originated in that discipline.
Then, the gender identity law is explained, repetitiously, with a suggested model paragraph for school administrators:
It goes on to say that the law was influenced by a survey of transgender students conducted by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network). You may remember GLSEN as the notorious sponsor of "Fistgate," a state-approved "Teach Out" at Tufts University, where students as young as 12 were offered lessons in "fisting" and given "fisting kits" along with other sex toys and paraphernalia. (For a graphic description of fisting, go to www.massresistance.org.)
MassResistance has also uncovered a document from November 2012 published by the Mass. Transgender Political Coalition, from which DESE seems to have appropriated entire sections verbatim. Another major influence on the document is BAGLY (Boston Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Youth). Thus, when the DESE, introducing the directive, says, "In preparing this guidance, the Department reviewed policies and guidance from several sites, organizations, and athletic associations and consulted with the field (my italics)," one begins to understand which field they are playing on.
But we digress. To understand "gender identity":
This is an example of the stultifying prose emanating from the bowels of the Department of Education, and it also leaves hanging that provocative question: What would the DESE consider an "improper purpose?"
Moving on, "The responsibility for determining a student's gender identity rests with the student or, in the case of young students not yet able to advocate for themselves, with the parent." The footnotes to this section refer us to material which declares the "young student" to be younger than five. So beyond kindergarten at the very least, the parent may be left out of the discussion. Continuing:
What? "Himself or herself?" Binarism at the DESE? Indeed, a particularly longwinded section is dedicated to the thorny problem of pronouns. For example,
This is a very serious matter, but the DESE might consider the gender-free pronoun found in The Official Politically Correct Handbook: h'orsh'it.
Somehow I doubt it. To the DESE, the question of pronouns does not permit the slightest levity or even laxity:
This obsession with the correct name and pronoun must continue beyond the classroom, in reports, school records, medical and counseling records -- all documents concerning the student. Moreover, "the birth name is considered private information and may be disclosed only with authorization under the Massachusetts Student Records Regulations." And further, the student may request that the birth name on his school record be changed. In addition, "Transgender students who transition after having completed high school, may ask their previous schools to amend school records or a diploma or transcript that include the student's birth name and gender."
Then comes the major change from the previous law, the decree that had been dropped because of public outrage. Now, apparently, the DESE senses a change in the air, for:
And finally (though there are pages and pages more, all larded with glutinous bureauspeak, as can be read on the website) we look at the question of "gender transition." Most "transgender youth will undergo gender transition through a process commonly referred to as 'social transition,' whereby they begin to live and identify as the gender consistent with their gender-related identity." However,
Some transgender youth who are close to reaching puberty, or after commencing puberty, may complement social transition with medical intervention that may include hormone suppressants, cross-gender hormone therapy, and for a small number of young people, a range of gender-confirming surgeries.
Here we must return to the prominent Toronto psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Berger, who has written, "The medical treatment of delusions, psychosis or emotional [un]happiness is not surgery....Cosmetic surgery will not change the chromosomes of a human being in that it will not make a man become a woman, capable of menstruating, ovulating, and having children, nor will it make a woman into a man, capable of generating sperm that can unite with an egg or ovum from a woman and fertilize that egg to produce a human child."
Or again, we turn to Dr. Paul McHugh, distinguished professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital:
And further, "I have witnessed a great deal of damage from sex-reassignment":
Perhaps Dr. McHugh and Dr. Berger are too stodgy, too patriarchal? They seem unaware of the joys of a gender-free society. Writes Martine Rothblatt in her book, "The blending of gender and marking of skin are revolutionary onramps to the transcendence of fleshism....We all have way too much gender to be forced into male or female pigeonholes. It is a multi-gender, multi-sexual society awaiting us in the future. One that is fun and full of creative choices."
The name of her book? Transgender to Transhuman.
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