Of Drag Queens and Michelangelo’s David
I generally try to steer clear of the culture wars. That is not least because both sides tend toward the extremes of their positions and both sides often seem extremely ridiculous. Add to that the fact that when you plop down in the no man’s land between the sparring extremists, you tend to draw fire from both sides. Nevertheless, that is often where I find myself.
One of the most recent controversies was too juicy to pass up, however. Over the past few months, there has been a rising tide of opposition to drag shows. There have been attempts to ban the shows in which men dress up in women’s clothing as well as angst and investigations over allowing children to be present at the shows.
The controversy finally reached rural Georgia last weekend when a drag production went live in my sleepy hometown. For clarification, I mean the town where I grew up, not where I currently live. I haven’t looked for shows near my current residence, but given my proximity to one of Georgia’s major cities, I’m sure that there are some examples nearby.
In the interest of full disclosure, there exist somewhere photos of me dressed as a cheerleader in high school. The occasion was the annual powder puff football game. For the uninitiated, the powder puff game was an exercise in role reversal in which the junior and senior girls played a flag football game and the boys formed the cheer squads. I think charity was involved. A good time was had by all, but I will not be posting pictures.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the bottom line is that drag shows suddenly seem to be Public Enemy Number One on conservative-leaning sites and channels. Much of the time, culture war features generate a bevy of clicks and shares and ratings when deeper, more important stories do not. So suddenly, the entire nation is focused on drag queens rather than mass shootings or the skyrocketing national debt or the potential that Donald Trump will start a civil war related to the 2024 elections.
It’s like the trope that is frequently trotted out online when several news stories break in rapid succession: “What is that they don’t want us paying attention to?”
But it isn’t “them.” It’s us. We are the ones who get wrapped up in mostly meaningless but emotionally gripping news stories. The media feeds us what we want.
So what about drag shows?
I’ve never been to one, but I used to overnight in Palm Springs, California. The hotel that my company put us up at was called the Hotel Zoso and I recall that there was a weekly drag show in the lobby. I never attended, but it was hard to miss the performers and attendees if you were anywhere near the performance area on the afternoons of the show.
In addition to being hotter than the face of the sun, Palm Springs seems to be a gay mecca. I also distinctly remember our van driver calling one of the nearby stores “gay mart,” but that’s neither here nor there.
Having chased that rabbit, I have to point out that I’m not even sure that drag shows are a gay phenomenon. I do know that cross-dressing is not necessarily indicative of homosexuality so my guess is that drag shows also include a variety of sexual preferences. [Note: It turned out to be true that not all drag queens are gay.]
In a sense, drag shows are nothing new. In the early days of Shakespeare, women were not allowed to perform on stage so men played the female roles. In our own age, drag performances were frequently part of bits by comic actors that included Bugs Bunny, Milton Berle, and Max Baer, who doubled as Jethro’s sister Jethrine Bodine on the “Beverly Hillbillies.” These clips still crack me up.
But wait, there’s more! 1995’s “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newar” was comprised of a cast of manly men in drag. The movie “Hairspray” was remade in 2007 and featured more prominent actors in drag. “White Chicks,” from 2004, included both drag and racial face painting.
Of course, dressing up in drag for a laugh is different than putting on a regular drag show in a small town. Or is it? Both are done for entertainment.
The real question is whether drag shows are good, clean fun or whether they are of a sexual nature. The answer to that question may depend on the show, but in at least one high-profile incident last year, Ron DeSantis’s agents did not find any “lewd acts” when they monitored a Christmas drag show in Orlando.
Per the Tampa Bay Times, “the Dec. 28 performance featured campy skits like ‘Screwdolph the Red-Nippled Man Deer’ and shimmying, bare-chested men who wouldn’t have been out of place at a Madonna concert. Also a hip thrust or two, similar to what is sometimes indulged in by NFL players after a touchdown.”
“Besides some of the outfits being provocative (bikinis and short shorts), agents did not witness any lewd acts such as exposure of genital organs,” the official report detailed in the Times stated. “The performers did not have any physical contact while performing to the rhythm of the music with any patrons.”
That isn’t to say that there are no drag shows that don’t include sexualized content. Rather than banning all drag shows, a better solution might be to enforce laws that are already on the books against indecency and obscenity. This would include keeping children out of R and X-rated shows.
That was the case in yet another Christmas drag show in Miami, Florida last year. Per a Fox News report, “‘A Drag Queen Christmas’ [apparently the same show that took place in Orlando] took place in late December and was initially promoted by the hotel with Christmas-themed materials that did not warn of sexually explicit content and included the words ‘all ages welcome.’”
The venue was warned against admitting children, but per the complaint, “minors attended and were knowingly admitted. During the Show and in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age, performers appeared on stage wearing sexually suggestive clothing and prosthetic female genitalia.”
The complaint also states that the performance included a “portrayal of oral fellatio,” rubbing prosthetic genitals on audience members, and exposed female breasts with less than a fully opaque covering, portrayals of simulated masturbation, and other sexually explicit content.”
The DeSantis Administration is handling that incident by enforcing existing law. The state Department of Business and Professional Regulation is moving to revoke the venue’s liquor license, but CBS News reported that the matter was still ongoing a few weeks ago.
While the incident is not good, the fact that Florida is pulling a liquor license rather than arresting the people involved is telling. It wasn’t great, but it apparently wasn’t felonious either.
At the other end of the spectrum, another story from Florida involves a controversy over Michelangelo’s famous statue of David. The principal of a public charter school was forced to resign after sixth graders at the school viewed the statue, which depicts the famous Israelite king in the nude. The problem, as the school’s chairman of the board explained to the Guardian, was that parents were not notified in advance.
“We have a practice,” Barney Bishop III said. “Last year, the school sent out an advance notice about it. Parents should know: in class, students are going to see or hear or talk about this. This year, we didn’t send out that notice.”
“The rights of parents, that trumps the rights of kids,” he added.
And that is the core issue. If respecting parental rights is the core value, we have to respect the rights of parents to make mistakes. Parental rights, to a certain extent at least, mean that parents have the right to screw up their children. You can’t have it both ways.
We might disagree with some choices that parents make. I wouldn’t take my kids to see a drag show or to a drag queen story hour at a library. Other parents are fine with that. Parental rights are about the right to make those choices.
But where does it end? Some parents don’t want their children exposed to anything that resembles critical race theory (CRT). Others want a very detailed discussion of the racist skeletons in America’s closet. Some parents don’t want any mention of homosexuality in schools. Other parents see education about other forms of sexuality as a vital part of sex education.
I could go further. Some parents might not want their kids to be exposed to anything related to guns or violence. Some parents don’t want their kids to learn about religion. Some parents don’t want their kids to be taught that Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
Snowflakes to the left of me. Snowflakes to the right. And into the valley of death wrote David. (That refers to me, this time. Not the statue.)
I’m going to come down on the side that says parents should not have a veto over their school’s curriculum. There are a great many reasons for this, but the main one is that it is impossible to have a unique curriculum for every student based on the whims of their parents. In some cases, even the parents won’t agree about what their kids should be taught.
I’m not a fan of drag shows, but that is one area where parents do have veto power. If you don’t want your kids to go to a drag show, don’t take them. But at the same time, if you claim to respect parental rights, have some respect for parents who feel differently about the issue. That is what individual freedom means.
And while I’m at it, maybe kids are just as damaged by watching their parents rationalize politicians grabbing women by their va-jay-jays, having multiple affairs, and paying tens of thousands of dollars in hush money to cover up said affairs. Neither side has the moral high ground here.
Despite having once been a cosplay cheerleader, I don’t “get” drag shows, but I’m skeptical that kids are sexualized more at these shows than they are sitting in front of the television in their own homes. The difference may be that the drag shows are of a homosexual nature, rather than presenting a heterosexual view of sex.
How many of us are guilty of watching risque television shows with our young and impressionable children? As one of my pastors used to say, “Amen or oh me?”
I’m not a fan of drag shows, but I also don’t believe that they represent a serious threat to children. If there’s evidence of any sort of abuse, the perpetrators should be prosecuted, but so far such evidence has not been forthcoming.
The time spent fretting about drag queens would be better spent on figuring out how to protect our children from deranged school shooters. But that’s a real problem that requires real solutions and compromise. It doesn’t fit well into the world of cable news and political punditry.
I saw a TikTok reel (of all things) yesterday where a black pastor pointed out that we do more to gatekeep strangers from our kids then we do our own families and communities – and he quoted a figure that 93% of child abuse occurs from someone the child knows. Which tells me that the drag show issue is neither about the kids, nor the parents rights.Report
I’m not a fan of drag shows, but that is one area where parents do have veto power. If you don’t want your kids to go to a drag show, don’t take them. But at the same time, if you claim to respect parental rights, have some respect for parents who feel differently about the issue.
I’m not sure what this means. As far as I can tell, everyone agrees that parents who don’t want their kids to go to Drag Queen Story Hour they are free to keep the kids away. As far as I can tell, almost nobody runs around telling people who make that choice (and only that choice, not the choice to keep the rest of us away) are raising their kids wrong, even if we would do it differently. So what else does it mean to “respect” parents who feel differently about the issue? And which set of parents do you mean?Report
I’m not crazy about “why are we focusing on this instead of that” arguments. I’m not a parent, but I’d want my kids in a safe school without drag shows. Or, you know, homeschooled, because I wouldn’t trust most schools for either safety or propriety.Report
Drag is inherently sexual. Lots of people struggle with being open about sexuality even in the most watered down fashion. But many things people do for entertainment have sexual parts to them. Cheerleaders or tons of reality TV or pro wrasslin all have sexual elements often extremely prominently.
Kids have always seen sex. For most of human history we didnt’ have multi room homes. Do you think kids decades ago in some tenement didnt’ hear sex or see things??? What people fear about drag, or one of the things, is that it is open sexuality. Hell some actual adults freaked about The Dave and his winkle. Fine if that is how they are then go in peace. But what is intolerable is giving the most sensitive the ultimate ban hammer. R’s are giving the least tolerant people the ultimate Heckler’s Veto.
PS if a child was hurt by seeing Dave then the parents have failed massively.Report
Most people were also farmers for most of civilization and it is really difficult to imagine that kids on the farms didn’t know about lambing and calfing.Report
No, what they fear is sexuality that is not “traditional” cis-gendered, heterosexual reproductive sex. Its what’s fueled the abortion backlash since the beginning. It’s what fuels most anti-gay legislation (where curiously the talk is always about men doing things . . . ) and what’s fueling the transphobia sweeping the nation as well. Sex for fun, women controlling their own sexuality, and gay and transgender people living and loving openly threatens that view of sex.Report
Lots and lots of people are scared of open sexuality of any sort. Full stop. People lost it at Dave’s marble dick. That is more than just only digging hetero sex.
There is something to what you say. Fear of women’s sexuality and gay people is real. But it’s not just that. We have WWE fans here. There is plenty of wild sexiness and overt and/or outrageous sexuality in pro wrestling. Of course that is show and wild so people dont’ expect to see it in their daily lives. So people do often like entertainment that pushes boundaries and is naughty.
Short version: Many americans are prudes.Report
Sure, and . . .
Drag is entertainment. Its not part of daily life. And WWE gets away with its wild sexiness because it reinforces “normal” heterosexual roles and relationships.Report
As one of the big “It’ll always be the WWF as far as I’m concerned!” guys on here, let me say that one of the things that made it somewhat appealing is that it was “outrageous” and appealed to prurient interests.
It was a “grown up”* version of the kid stuff I enjoyed as a kid.
*(I now know that it wasn’t “grown up” as much as “adolescent” with an adolescent’s joy of transgressing boundaries.)
There were a bunch of people who complained about it at the time.
They even had a tag team called “Standards & Practices” in WCW with a “Miss Hancock” whose job it was to mock the standards&practices people in the various Turner Network offices. The WWF brought out a faction called the “Right To Censor” where they had wrestlers wear ties and make mockery of the Parents’ Television Council by targeting wrestlers such as “The Godfather” (the wrestling pimp).
Man, you just *KNOW* that that pissed off the starched shirts and the bluehairs!
Those people would probably be babyfaces in the current year!Report
Yeah it was aiming for scandalous and outrageous. Lots of comedy/entertainment always has. Now the R’s have given the bluehairs and starched shirts a veto over much. Which seems bad cause the kids survived Judas Priest and WW (fill in correct letter). Drag isn’t entertaining for the parents like wrasslin is so it’s Bad instead of the good kind of naughty.
The Transgression Police are out there trying to limit how transgressive trangressors can be. Which isn’t how it all works.
Standards and Practices as a satiric tag team is funny.Report
If you’re doing something scandalous and outrageous, it’s kind of disingenuous to act disingenuous if someone points out that you’re doing something scandalous and outrageous.
“I’m doing something provocative… HEY HEY WHY ARE YOU ACTING PROVOKED?!?!?”Report
Yeah i agree. One part of drag, in my experience, is being transgressive. Not every show, some are going full on Bacchanalia and some are tame/ child friendly. But pushing boundaries is part of it. Freedom is good.
If i’m going to judge a trangresive act i think the punching up vs down distinction works well. If you are trangressing at a small vulnerable and disliked group then that is just being an f’n bully. To hell with that. That isn’t being trangressive. Aim at the powerful or the masses. That is where transgression is Good.Report
If all they’re doing is “pointing out,” that’s fine. Freedom cuts both ways.If all they were doing is “pointing out,” there wouldn’t be an issue.Report
Well, Standards & Practices had strong opinions about what was and what was *NOT* appropriate content for a family show.
They were getting all up in.
As someone who was almost 30, I was irritated that they wouldn’t let Norman Smiley do the “big wiggle” on television. That stuff was funny!
I think that it had something to do with age-appropriate content on a show that billed itself as being fine for people above a certain age.
The question of what is not appropriate for 14 year-olds is still up in the air, I guess.
Some people think that stuff that isn’t appropriate for kids must also be stuff that also isn’t appropriate for adults.
Others agree with that Mark Twain quote about censorship, babies, and steaks.
I, personally, think that there is stuff that is okay for grown-ups to consume that isn’t okay for tweens to partake in.
And once one swallows that particular camel, we’re left haggling over how much of him should be allowed to be in the tent.
Some say that it is hypocritical to draw a line.Report
I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, what you think you’re responding to, or how it relates to whatever you think you’re responding to. But what else is new?Report
Thank you for sharing your internal state.
It’s more of a gestalt kinda thing that I was responding to when I was responding to your response to me.Report
Is that what the kids are calling it these days?Report
Standards and Practices sounds like the worst buddy cop team ever. Who the hell is the loose cannon??? Can’t be Standards.
“Practices…you’ve gone to far…..the Chief is gonna have all our asses for this!!!” Nah, just doesn’t work as a Good Cop who Doesn’t Play By The Rules.Report
Nah, I think Standards and Practices is a jazz duo. She (Standards) sings and solos on an EWI while he (Practices) sets the drum machine and plays piano. They’re available for weddings, anniversary parties, bar mitzvahs, and retirement celebrations and have several CDs and downloadable setlists available for sale.Report
Okay, you nailed that. In fact i think i’ve saw them 30 years ago. They were complete pro’s.Report
How many people today are losing it because of David, though?Report
Welp a principal lost his job over, apparently, one parent going nuts over the nuts. It’s not like that is the only thing to get removed due to a scandalized parent.Report
That’s true but it actually takes away from your argument. School employees get removed all the time because of parents’ complaints. It’s not a new phenomenon; it’s a feature of our system which emphasizes local control. So one case doesn’t indicate a movement, or even necessarily anything out of the ordinary.Report
I actually think this is getting too into larger principles and proceduralism when the facts strike me as pretty self explanatory, at least with regard for what is appropriate for young children in schools.
One of these things is among the most celebrated pieces of art in western history and culture. The other is a performer of adult oriented entertainment at a local bar. Some things just speak for themselves, even without getting into the larger context of other stuff coming out of the NPO academic industrial complex.Report
It seems to me like the broader principle of local control over schools is unavoidable though. Have you ever written the word “unavoidable” and switched the o and the i and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it?
That last sentence may have been a digression.Report
As a Monty Python fan, I think Carol Cleveland in a low-cut top is far more sexual than Terry Jones in a dress.Report
I agree with you, but a different viewer’s mileage may vary from that.Report
It is impossible to stay clear of the culture wars because the Republican Party only wants to wage the Culture War.Report
David Thornton:”The time spent fretting about drag queens would be better spent on figuring out how to protect our children from deranged school shooters.”
Republicans: “Why? We can tolerate the one, but not the other.””Report
As always I disclaim any support for various conservative panics but I think the post misses the core issue. It seems clear to me from Drag Queen story hour to the sudden appearance of drag performances in family environments where they would not have been previously, that there really is a concerted effort underway to expose children to them. I also think it is clear that these are not the same as bugs bunny wearing a dress or the football team and the cheerleaders switching uniforms for laughs. My assumption is generally that the content at these events is toned down to something resembling age appropriateness but that doesn’t change the fact that the performers themselves are typically coming from a school of adults-only entertainment.
My question is why? And what is the goal exactly? I don’t think it is unreasonable for parents to wonder.
I’ve heard vague things about ‘tolerance’ but, again, tolerance of who? I think the implication is tolerance of gay and/or trans people but I’ve never understood how this is a good avenue for that, and as others have noted not all drag performers are gay nor is performing in drag the same thing as being trans. Even if this were the case, is the best way to teach tolerance to children exposing them to watered down versions of the more avant-garde subcultures among these groups, that may or may not be particularly representative? It’s none of my business where other people take their kids on Sunday mornings but color me skeptical.Report
I’m skeptical of the necessity of creating new laws to do anything here.
And lets be clear – drag queen story hour is drag queens reading stories in libraries and school classrooms. Other then being in costume there’s no “performance.” so unless you just object to cross-dressing per se (and I know some do), creating legal prohibitions is a step way too far.Report
I agree that private establishments can host what they want and would never think of prohibiting drag shows.
But if there’s no performance, what’s the purpose of doing it in a school? What are they doing that a teacher can’t?Report
What is McGruff the Crime Dog doing that a teacher can’t? or every First Lady ever filmed reading stories? And on and on. Having community members come read to kids in libraries and schools is a time honored tradition.Report
I don’t really see that as responsive to the question.
Though I think the crime dog comparison may be getting warmer, albeit in a way that makes the idea worse, not better.Report
Heh, ok. Call me I guess when they institute stripper or raunchy comedian story hour.Report
Yeah, or when a raunchy comedian appears on a children’s TV show about trains! That’ll be the day!Report
Did he do an all-ages bit appropriate to the show, or did he roll out his Seven Dirty Words rant?Report
I’ve never bothered to watch any of it despite having a LOT of opinions about it, but I have read on random blogs that appear to be operated by far-right reactionaries that Carlin was exceedingly lewd (and often completely nude) on that show, and I’m going to trust those source-less blogs over the actual experiences of people who have seen the show.
Why was he allowed to do that?!?! On a KID’S SHOW!!!Report
What are they doing that a teacher can’t?
Some/many teachers are not comfortable doing the kind of enthusiastic and engaging public reading that the piece of Drag Queen Story Hour I saw at my public library involved. He had the kids completely hooked on the story.
Having community members come read to kids in libraries and schools is a time honored tradition.
I am sure that if the Chamber of Commerce agreed to have men in three-piece suits come in and do that sort of performance art for an hour each week, the public library would be more than glad to have them. Or outlaw bikers.Report
What if the purpose is to normalize transgender people?Report
A. As said above, drag does not equal trans or necessarily even gay, though I assume most of the performers probably are gay (which is of course fine). So it doesn’t really make any sense on its own terms. It’s also kind of presumptuous to assume gay and/or trans people writ large want to be represented in such a way or that children are receiving the message (which again, is what exactly?). To my knowledge I don’t know any trans people but virtually all of the gays and lesbians I know are now married, suburban normies, not performers of drag or anything else.
B. More importantly, it isn’t the job of the public schools to normalize anything. It’s their job to provide a public service to the taxpayer.Report
So what if the purpose is to normalize drag?Report
Gotta admit, it’s easier to do that than get more than half of some of these kids to read.Report
I always enjoy posts and comments by actual college professors that are some variant of, “I’m indoctrinating these kids? Hell, I can’t even get them to read the things on the syllabus.”Report
It’s the job of the public schools to fulfill their legislative mandates. It’s up to us, the political decision-makers of a state, to tell the legislature what we mandate schools to do.
You can probably get a very emotionally-fraught argument started by simply asking a few questions about what it is schools are supposed to do right now. Is it…
Putting specific kinds of knowledge in the brains of students?
Providing adult supervision to students so as to free up the ability of parents to pursue employment?
Socializing students to be the kinds of consumers and citizens the state prefers they become?
Making students employable upon their attainment of adulthood?
Dispensing health and nutrition to students?
Providing employment to teachers and other staff?
Serving as a locus for community identity and activity?
…It’s all of these and more, of course, but saying so out loud sometimes sounds like it’s very very socialistic and we certainly can’t have that, now can we?Report
I agree with you to a point, but I’m not sure most of the people I debate this topic with would. I mean that’s basically the argument Ron DeSantis and Glenn Younkin are making (and Chris Rufo too), even if I think their true motives are less about protecting democratic control over public education and more about redirecting it towards culturally conservative values and/or replacing it with some form of voucher program.Report
“It’s all of these and more, of course, but saying so out loud sometimes sounds like it’s very very socialistic…”
See that’s an interesting conclusion, because as far as I’ve seen, “[i]t’s up to us, the political decision-makers of a state, to tell the legislature what we mandate schools to do” is considered the reactionary conservative Republican position. I mean, that’s a bunch of politicians and parents telling teachers how to do their job, right?Report
I’m starting to think this place need an article entitled ‘This place does not understand queer culture and cishet commenters here probably should not assume they do’
For the record, drag has been inexorably tied with queer culture since the start, and started out of it. (In fact, in America, it started out of Black gay culture.) People keep trying to correct the wrong assumption that ‘drag queens are all trans women’ and way way overcorrect to pretending they are completely independent, when they aren’t. The drag community is about as queer-adjacent as a community can possible be without having ‘being queer’ as a requirement for membership.
And, yes, the communities stand together.
You know, that really explains a lot. I suspect that’s true of a lot of people here. I could probably say the word ‘assimilation’ here and half the people wouldn’t know the context I was using it, would they?
So I guess the question is: Why do you think they would tell you if they were drag performers, considering you appear uncomfortable with drag performances? (This is a question that a lot of people should ask themselves when they publicly find something weird and declare, very assuredly, that no one they know does that sort of thing.)Report
Yes, this. If you know more than five gay couples, there is a good chance you know at least one person who occasionally does drag. They might not be a professional drag performer, but amature drag night is a gay staple.
Regarding why drag story hour might be a good thing for gay and trans people, it doesn’t seem that deep to me. It’s about the fact that LGBTQ people are members of the community, and participating in community events is a normal thing to want to do. Why drag? Simple, because it’s interesting. Plus queens are quite visible and obviously gender non-conforming. Some kids in the audience may think to themselves, “Hey, I’m kinda like that. Maybe I’m gay or trans or something. It’s okay if I am, because being so is normal and fine.” Others might simply think, “I’m not like that, but’s okay to be like that.” Both results are good actually.Report
Heh, while obviously I don’t know every little thing people do, even people I know pretty well, I doubt anyone I know is out performing in the evenings for the same reasons I’m not out at the ballpark. AKA life after marriage, and increasingly with kids.Report
“I’m starting to think this place need an article entitled ‘This place does not understand queer culture and cishet commenters here probably should not assume they do’”
so queer culture is now a forbidden topic of discussion here?
or maybe it’s it that you don’t want discussion, you want sermonsReport
It’s hall monitoring, I tell ya, hall monitoring!Report
Saying ‘People do not know what they are talking about on a specific topic’ is not saying ‘People should be barred from talk about this’. It’s saying ‘People who have no direct experience with this should not assume they do.
Statistically, almost no one here knows anything about Vietnamese culture. I think it’s safe to say that if we start talking about that, 99% of us would basically have no idea what we’re talking about. And those of us who haven’t experienced Vietnamese culture would probably slow down and ask questions instead of assuming random stuff that we read that, especially if that stuff was obviously produced by people who were openly hostile to Vietnamese people.
For some reason, that isn’t happening with queer culture, or trans medical stuff, or anything, and a lot of people are just running around here saying completely absurd things that indicate a complete disconnect from any knowledge all.
If a bunch of non-Americans were running around here saying, completely serious, that Americans like cars so much they often decide who to marry based on what car they own, I’d have to suggest that…these people are not actually familiar with American culture and have read some weirdly biased information about it.
That, but queer culture.
In this specific example, InMD just indicated he didn’t know about the ‘liberation vs. assimilation’ argument that is basically the core political disagree among queer politics. It’s basically the most fundamental concept, and InMD just blithely said ‘Most queer people I know are assimilated’ and didn’t even know he was saying that!Report
I’m going to leap on this rare opportunity to disagree with you because I think you have the causality all wrong. We are not hearing about drag this and trans that because there’s been a sudden upsurge of drag taking place in kids environments or because trans folks are suddenly trying to invade kids environments en masse.
We are hearing about all these things because the right generally and the right wing media apparatus specifically has been utterly routed in their war against homosexuality. So badly have they been routed, in fact, that continuing to prosecute that war has become genuinely difficult for their money making apparatus. So, they have by and large stopped it.
But, of course, all that powder has to be fired at something. Something needs to keep the marks, erm I mean voters, agitated and ponying up the money.
Enter trans, and drag as well, because it kind of looks trans-like to anyone not familiar with it and, frankly, there is a pretty general dearth of trans people interacting with the public and the right wing apparatus has to make hay with the hand it’s dealing itself.
There has not been some sudden huge upsurge in drag shows. While all things trans has become more common as the ice has thawed around the LGBTQ+ there’s similarily no huge surge in incidences of public trans-ness. That is not why you and David are hearing about it.
No. You’re hearing about it because the roaring maw of the right wing printing press needs to be fed every-single-day and it is simply not economical to shove those pedestrian gays and their marriages and military service into it like they did back in the aughts and early teens. So, instead, in goes the drag queens and the trans folk. They’re far more niche and thus far less likely to be someone the alarmed elderly marks, err I mean valued viewers, of right wing media know personally.Report
This, and we can’t take their arguments at face value because behind every reasonable sounding person ” just asking questions” is a legislator talking about how transgenderism is itself a mental illness.
Even right here, we see the starting premise that drag, and anything LGBTQ itself, is just inherently sexual and inappropriate for children and must be restricted to consenting adults.
That a book with a mommy and daddy is neutral but a book with two mommies is “introducing sex”.Report
Warning, long comment ahead but I feel I owe it to you to explain where I’m coming from!
I always try to take what I see online, especially when it comes to culture war, with a handful of salt, and not to swallow any particular narrative hook, line, and sinker. If the only place I heard about some of these things was the internet I’d be a lot less credulous. I also think it’s critical to keep in mind that I live in something like a Biden +60 jurisdiction. I may come from a conservative-ish family, but the right doesn’t exist in the meat space I inhabit, not in anything remotely resembling the strain that dominates national politics anyway.
Now I agree with you that conservative media is chomping at the bits to find whatever anecdata they can to feed the culture war they need to run interference for their primary goal of cutting taxes for rich people and taking health insurance away from the poor. But my personal experience in deep blue America is that the allegations aren’t totally without merit.
My local library does drag queen story hour now, and it didn’t 4 years ago. People I know personally performatively post their attendance with their kids on facebook. I also know teachers working in the local public schools, including quite liberal people, who confirm the influx of bad DEI, mainly about race before, now focused on various gender identities. The descriptions I hear are less Tucker Carlson, and more just plain farcical. Stuff like 5th grade boys whose voices haven’t dropped declaring themselves non-binary after a convoluted health class on gender identity, because they still prefer to play with other boys, followed by a bunch of ludicrous bureaucratic edicts to the faculty that everyone must stop everything and affirm. Maybe there is some exaggeration but I don’t think it’s made up out of whole cloth, and these are all people who despise Trump, MAGA, and all the rest.
The most disturbing is the ongoing court case that all of the school districts in the state are watching, to see if schools will officially be allowed to ‘affirm’ new gender identities of students and lie to parents about it if they think necessary for the child’s safety. A close friend of mine (married lesbian woman) is scared where that could go with one of her sons who doesn’t always conform to stereotypical little boy behavior.
I think it’s important to clarify that I don’t see this as trans or gay people coming for anyone’s kids. I see it as dumb, ideological bureaucracy run amok (mostly by apparently straight white people) due to a total absence of anything keeping them honest. Some people see all of this as harmless, but I see it as at best using children as props for the political ends of adults, something that I find distasteful even if at times inevitable, and at worst the state forcing a captive audience of other peoples children to validate adult self actualization projects. All at the expense of the public trust, and maybe even in violation of the establishment clause. That’s just wrong IMO and conflicts with the basic rules I think are necessary to make liberal society function and flourish over the long term.
So while we may have to agree to disagree on this one, I hope that explains why I can’t just shut up about it.Report
I also find it incredibly disturbing that many children do not think it would be safe for the school to tell their gender identity to their parents and tell the schools that. Either these children are wrong, and think pretty bad things but incorrect about their parents, or they are right and are in a home environment that is only safe for them if they conform in certain ways.
…oh, wait, you meant it was disturbing in the _other_ way, you are disturbed that schools would believe students and not out them to parents.
What else do you think schools should out about children to parents, for the record? Sexual orientation? Religion? Dating someone of another race? Let’s get this defined real quick.
Hey, completely irrelevant question: What do you think the largest cause of homeless children is? What is most likely to get them kicked out of their house?Report
If schools believe a child’s safety is threatened they report it to CPS or the police and let the system do its thing. It’s that simple.
But really these kinds of knee jerk histrionics are precisely why some of the concern is warranted. You aren’t actually responsible for other people’s children nor do you or the activists who agree with you care more about them than a parent does. No one is fooled by this kind of talk.Report
Hey, let’s play a game, since my other post isn’t showing yet: What percentage of queer children get kicked out of their home for being queer?
Just a rough guess. A ballpark figure.Report
Oh, fooey, my other post showed up. I guess the guessing game is over.
1 out of 20 queer children report being kicked out of their home or abandoned because they are queer.
Yes, it certainly is ‘knee jerk histrionics’ to worry about something with a _5%_ chance of _extremely_ bad consequences. (And that’s pretending the only bad consequences are getting kicked out, when obviously there’s a whole raft abusive behaviors that fall short of that.)
Hey, guess what a school reporting ‘This child is gay and says that their parent is homophobic and will react poorly if we tell them’ to CPS accomplishes?
Cishet people stop commenting on aspects of queer life they know literally nothing about Challenge (Impossible!)Report
David, when you make something a matter of public policy administered by public institutions, particularly when it comes to children, you make it other people’s business. That’s just life in a democracy.
I won’t debate your statistics, even if I have my doubts about how reflective they are of life in one of the most liberal parts of the country. In the places I’m talking about people are more likely to be falling all over themselves to show how accepting they are, which in terms of where their hearts are I think is the right place. But none of that really matters for purposes of this conversation, because the proper place to deal with the concerns you’re raising is social services and the courts.Report
You say, implicitly arguing with them.
Oh, you _doubt_ that one in twenty of the parents in your area would kick out trans kids? Well, you might be right! It might only be one in thirty around you! And the way schools know who these one in thirty parents are _besides_ the trans kids telling the school would be….what?
If a student tells the school that their parents will react badly, what they are they supposed to do? Because you can’t tell CPS on _hypothetical_ abuse that hasn’t happened yet(1), and incidentally, lots of kids don’t actually want to lose their families anyway.
You’re basically demanding that schools _force_ a problem to happen with parents so…those kids lose their housing, but _maybe_ those parents can…lose their parental rights? (Not really sure how that’s a punishment if they don’t want the kid anyway.) No one actually goes to prison for abandoning kids.
You realize how absurd that is, right? It’s basically the equivalent of telling Black people to stand up to cops, because cops assaulting them is _illegal_ and that will get rid of bad cops.
Yeah, it doesn’t work that way, and you don’t get to demand that vulnerable people do risky things and magically hope it starts working out when it historically and currently does not.
1) Although a conservative standing there and saying ‘homophobic parents should go to prison for child abuse if they have a gay kid who hasn’t come out yet because of their homophobia’ is actually pretty funny, but I really don’t think you mean that.
…you literally just talked about a lesbian couple who is worried that their son might turn out to be trans, and misunderstand the situation so much that they think the school might be doing it.
What do you think is going to happen if the school informs those parents that their son actually did start using a different name and pronouns, like you want the school to do?
You realize that gay people can be transphobic too, right? That you just described exactly the sort of transphobic parents that their son likely would say _can’t_ be safely told?Report
Oh, and I notice you didn’t actually answer my question: Do you think schools should tell parents that their child is dating someone of another race?
Let’s give a more specific example: Let’s say a child has a picture taken at a school date with their date of another race, and the normal procedure would be to mail a copy of the picture to their home address.
However, the student asserts that the parent would be extremely unhappy with who they are dating if they saw the picture and would punish them for it, perhaps even kicking them out.
Should the school arrange some other way for the student to get the picture, or just go ahead and mail it? (And before you start trying to rational that it should be addressed to the student, not the parents, the student asserts that the parent will demand to see it regardless.)Report
Because I’m gong to be busy the next few days and probably not be able to answer, I’ll answer now.
“14% of LGBTQ youth reported that they had slept away from parents or caregivers because they were kicked out or abandoned, with 40% reporting that they were kicked out or abandoned due to their LGBTQ identity.”
Putting those percentages together, that’s 5.6% of all queer kids in total. To rephrase, if you are standing there looking at 20 random queer kids, at least _one_ of them has been kicked out of their house because they are queer.
And, of course, the ‘kicking kids out’ is the _last_ step of abuse, I’m sure at least another two or three of those 20 were abused in various ways for that, just not kicked out.
And this is just the kids who _the parents learned about_, either they thought it was safe or they got outed involuntary. Presumably, there were plenty of very VERY obviously queerphobic parents who never learned it because the kid was a lot more paranoid. The percentage of ‘Would hypothetically kick out or be abusive towards queer kids if they learned they had one’ has to be higher than the percentage of ‘Did actually kick out or was abusive towards queer kids’.
We’re probably looking at, at minimum, a _quarter_ of parents who would react poorly, in clearly abusive ways, if they learned they had queer kids. (And half of them do learn that! And do react poorly!)
And you think schools shouldn’t keep this secret.Report
The most disturbing is the ongoing court case that all of the school districts in the state are watching, to see if schools will officially be allowed to ‘affirm’ new gender identities of students and lie to parents about it if they think necessary for the child’s safety. A close friend of mine (married lesbian woman) is scared where that could go with one of her sons who doesn’t always conform to stereotypical little boy behavior.
She is scared…of what, exactly? What is the potential harm here?Report
Psychological interventions by mostly well meaning but dumb school bureaucrats that, unlike other well meaning but dumb interventions, she will not be permitted to know about or approve/reject unless they decide to loop her in.Report
Well, that is already the case.
Every school bureaucrat, by law, is allowed or even required to conceal things from a parent “if they think it necessary for the child’s safety”.
If a child shows signs of abuse, a parent’s rights immediately vanish and secrecy is a matter of official policy. Sometimes this misfires, and sometimes it doesn’t, but I don’t think anyone wants to eliminate the school bureaucrat’s power to take action “if they think it is necessary for the child’s safety”.
But lets talk about this particular case, and be specific.
What possible harm might result in a child asking a school teacher to “affirm their gender identity”, and the parent not being informed of it?
For example, a student named Sam tells a teacher they want to be addressed as Samantha and the teacher obliges and doesn’t notify the parent.
Where is the harm?Report
I am not aware of any laws that might allow a school official to (i) withhold information from a parent due to a safety concern but (ii) chose not to also report the safety concern to the proper authorities. If we’re withholding but also reporing for investigation and adjudication I’m good. If we’re withholding in perpetuity based on sole discretion of the official I’m not. There are also laws like FERPA and state ancillaries that require making student records available to parents and for parents to have some control over them.
To your second question it kind of depends on what you think gender identity is. As I have heard it described it sounds more like a metaphysical or religious concept (i.e. a deep sense of the gendered self). If that’s the case the harm is an establishment clause issue, the same as officially validating that a child has an immortal soul destined for heaven or hell based on behavior in this life. While you can’t stop a kid from asserting it about themselves, public schools (rightly) don’t get to weigh in on it either way. Any changes in name, etc. should be made by the parent.
If it is a symptom of the psychological/medical condition of gender dysphoria it’s simply practicing without a license and making medical decisions for a child without parental oversight. Schools don’t know how nor are they authorized to diagnose or treat that anymore than they are any other condition. So the harm is they have incompetently intervened into what I think would in fall under psychiatric care, with risks varying from creating or exacerbating other mental health issues to worst case scenario a false positive resulting in future unneeded and depending on how far it goes irreversible medical interventions. Basically my position is leave it to the families and their doctors. To the extent a public school has any role it’s in the realm of reasonable accommodations, subject to the same rules and exceptions as any other medical diagnosis.Report
Should teachers be allowed to baptize Jewish children without their parents knowing?
If you believe in eternal souls, there’s a lot more at stake than what the parents want.Report
The real threat is them turning everyone into Richard Gere style white guy Buddhists. The nation’s quotient of insufferable spiritualism is already well passed critical mass and I don’t think we could survive it.Report
Chappaqua Central School District Addresses Parents’ Claims That Students Were Forced To Watch Bill Murray’s “The Razor’s Edge”Report
Okay, half the people in this conversation are acting really stupid.
We’re not discussing schools doing anything, we are not discussing teachers doing anything, we are discussing _students_ doing things and teachers not actively objecting to it.
If a student gets baptized, on their own initiative, without parents knowing, should schools inform parents of it?Report
we are discussing _students_ doing things and teachers not actively objecting to it.
I thought that we were also discussing teachers going along with it without telling the parents.
Is that not the case?Report
I have no idea what you think the difference between ‘going along’ with someone’s name and pronouns are and ‘not actively objecting’ to someone’s name and pronouns is. Please give an example of doing one of those things and not the other.Report
Well, one is inaction. The other is action.Report
One is only inaction if the teachers literally never refer to a student in any manner.
And you forgot to give the _example_, the one thing I requested. Show a teacher doing one and not the other.Report
Hey, I just wanted to hammer out that there was a difference between inaction and action and the teachers were engaging in action versus “not objecting”.
If you agree that they are doing more than “not objecting” but actually engaging in action, I’m good.Report
No, my argument is that your distinction is utterly meaningless, because you have defined action as basically ‘interacting with a person’.
If you don’t understand that there is a difference, between a woman saying ‘I just got married, I’m changing my last name to Smith.’ and me now using that last name for her…vs. me actually performing the wedding ceremony…I have absolutely no idea how you function. Those are very different things. The second implies I am in favor of her union (One hopes! Or I’m just in it for a quick buck.) and the first is just…how the world works, you use the name for people that they tell you to use.
Even if they have both fallen under your silly ‘action’ definition which you just invented and somehow thinks means something.Report
No, my argument is that your distinction is utterly meaningless, because you have defined action as basically ‘interacting with a person’.
You’d think that we would be cool with describing it as “going along with it” rather than “not actively objecting”.
But here we are.Report
You are the person who asserted they were different, Jaybird. And couldn’t give an example when I asked what on earth you were talking about, except a vague ‘action’ vs ‘inaction’ concept that doesn’t stand up to two seconds of scrutiny. (Interacting with other people is always an ‘action’.)Report
They are different.
That’s why you objected to me saying “going along with it” and not “not actively objecting”.
This seems obvious.Report
…my objection was literally that they were _not_ different and thus your correction from one to the other made no sense. And I asked for an example of something that would be one and not the other. (Which you still haven’t given, because there isn’t one possible for teachers. Cause they have to, ya know, refer to students.)Report
Well, one thing that could be done is giving the kiddo in question a nickname of “Yes?” or “Hey”.
(Kiddo raises hand)
(Teacher points to student) “Yes?”
(Teacher asks question)
(Classroom remains silent)
(Teacher points to student) “Hey, what do you think?”Report
And my objection was your analogy of ‘the teacher baptizing someone’, which is not even vaguely analogous to this situation at all.Report
I admit: I was thinking of stuff like “transition closets” in various classrooms.Report
…you mean, schools allowing a student club to have space at the school? A thing that is incredibly common at schools?
You realize that The Transition Closet is actually the name of a club, right? Operates off donations? There isn’t actually a ‘closet’, and isn’t actually set up by the school. It’s a club that meets and also students can get access to some donated clothes.
Hey, um, let me check real quick: Is allowing students to change clothes at school (In private, one assumes) an _action_ or an _inaction_?
Cause, uh, I never even had to ask permission to change clothes at school.You just go into the bathroom and do it. Kids actually do it all the time, in fact the school actually sets things up where they are often supposed to change clothes while there (Afterschool activities, PE, etc), but…no one has ever bothered to make rules _disallowing_ other changes.Report
Well, you’d think that parents would appreciate these distinctions being made after they found out about these things existing rather than resenting it.
Maybe if they publicized these things the way you are portraying them, they could get more funding.Report
Hey, Jaybird, are you a parent of a kid at one of those schools?
What’s that? You’re not? And you found out about this via conservative media lying about it?
Huh, weird that you know how parents at that school were informed about this. Or would even need to be informed about this, I don’t recall my parents being informed about any of the clubs at my school!
Why do you assume they do not have ‘funding’? Or even need ‘funding’? They lend clothing to children, it’s not particularly expensive to do that, and it’s pretty easy to cover that with donations of clothing. And children tend to go through clothing pretty quickly, there’s plenty of used kids’ clothing.
You do understand (And of course you don’t) that this is just a formal network of things that already existed? Trans people, especially those not safe at home or shopping, have long dressed themselves off donations from other queer people. And gotten makeup and binders(1) and all sorts of help from each other. It’s basic mutual aid.
The point of the club is to have an actual visible person go to ask for it, so kids who are not well connected know where to go, and to have a storage space at the school (Which all clubs can get.) so kids don’t have to smuggle clothing in and out of their home.
1) It used to be that literally every company that provides binders had a donation system to provide free binders to people who couldn’t afford them. That’s fallen to the side as more mainstream companies have gotten into it, (Although luckily that also made prices go down) but it used to be how it worked.Report
Why do you assume they do not have ‘funding’? Or even need ‘funding’?
I’ve always heard about schools needing more funding.
It’s good that the ones that have these closets don’t require additional.
Wait… is this only happening in the well-funded schools?
Now that I think about that sort of thing, that totally makes sense.
But you know what they say about adequately funded school districts: That’s where the parents keep tabs on things.Report
Schools…don’t fund student clubs, except to the extent that they generally let the club use their space and some of their resources.
Wait, you went to private school didn’t you? Maybe you don’t know what student clubs are.
Student clubs are a group of students plus a sponsoring teacher. Sometimes the students get together and form a club and track down a teacher to sponsor them, sometimes a teacher wants to sponsor a club and starts asking students if there would be interest in it. Some of the clubs are affiliates of outside organizations, some are not.
They meet in empty classrooms after school. Sometimes they manage to get together enough money for a pizza party or a field trip to some club-related thing, and the school will possibly lead them a bus and a driver to get there and back, or maybe they’ll just pile into that teacher’s minivan and the cars of the two members who can drive.
All this is technically done by the students in the club, who elect leadership of the club, and makes all the decisions. The schools just require the club have a teacher involved to keep things sane. (And actually hold the money if there’s anything more than pizza-level money involves.)
What are you even talking about? Since when do public schools go around asking for donations anyway? Much less donations towards specific clubs?Report
Wait, you went to private school didn’t you?
Nope, I didn’t. I went to public school. This was back in the stone ages, though. And the schools I went to were in Westchester or, in Colorado, District 20 (don’t know how District 20 is in the current year but, back in 1990, it was pretty glam).
See, I was thinking about the various tik toks posted by various progressive teachers (and, yes, retweeted by libsoftiktok) where the progressive teachers were bragging about making transition closets available to their students.
I didn’t know that this was merely the equivalent of a school club.
I thought it was more something like what the teachers were bragging about providing.Report
It is not the ‘equivalent’ of a school club, it is literally a school club.
Why do you think teachers cannot brag about clubs that they sponsor? (Or even clubs that just exist at the school which they are not the sponsor of, although I assume the sponsor would be the most likely to brag.)
Do I need to quickly google and find some teacher proud of their theatre club doing a production or their 4H club members winning awards?Report
Yeah, I didn’t know that the transition closets elected leadership and all of that stuff.
I just thought that they were what the teachers were bragging about actively providing to students.
Rather than merely “going along” with this or that or even just “not actively opposing” it.
You’d think that these bougie parents would be bragging about this to the other bougie parents.Report
So I assume you’re reconsidering these news sources that misframed this story?
…and you know the ‘bougie parents’ aren’t doing that how?
You do realize that schools have more than one set of parents, right? Cause this is the exact same discussion I’m having with InMD, he also thinks that liberal areas somehow magically make things safe for _all_ kids to be outed to their parents. (Newsflash: Even the most liberal areas have conservatives in them.)
And, hell, as plenty a gay kid can tell you, there are a lot of parents who will say all the right, accepting things when it’s some abstract gay kid, but then be completely sure that _their_ kid isn’t actually gay and isn’t allowed to pretend they are and if they continue that they won’t be allowed under their roof.
Again, 5.6% of queer kids have been kicked out of their house for being queer. And although I didn’t mention it, that link also shows that 8.8% of queer kid have run away from home because they feared mistreatment of being queer, which I didn’t mention because it is hypothetical possible they were factual incorrect…but that other number really makes me feel like they weren’t wrong. Those numbers probably add together, despite some very small amount of overlap.
And THIS IS THE LOW ESTIMATE. There’s a huge chunk of vague behaviors that don’t fall on one of those, some level of abuse or mistreatment, or they simply are not supported at all, and end up homeless. Other studies put the total number of queer youth who become homeless due to being queer at about 20%.
Like, I feel we also should be concerned about these numbers as a general principle, that those numbers themselves are horrifying? Instead we’re arguing whether or not we should _out_ queer kids?
Oh, and before anyone starts arguing with these numbers…not only are they well supported from that direction, but polling in the other direction, homeless kids are _four times_ as likely to be queer as the general population. The general children’s queer population is somewhere between 5%-10%, the homeless children’s queer population is somewhere between 20%-40%.Report
So I assume you’re reconsidering these news sources that misframed this story?
I was basing my opinion on the tiktoks where the teachers were bragging about them. I mean, it’d be silly to base your opinion on what the teachers are saying based on what Fox News says they said, right?
But if you see the teacher bragging about it himself, then you can come to a tentative conclusion about what the teacher said.
I can dig some up, if you promise not to switch from “that didn’t happen” but “seriously, what’s wrong with what the teacher said?”
Because I see the topic as “there is a difference between passive and active” with a side of “this is happening” and not “let’s discuss human flourishing without hammering out what virtue consists of!”Report
It would also be extremely silly to base your opinion on out-of-context clips shown to you by people with a clear agenda who carefully tracked those clips down and provided no context, but here we are.
And again, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about that you didn’t understand this story…because what you didn’t understand doesn’t make a difference at all. The situation, either way, is: Some people at the school are storing clothes(1) to help students who need to change clothes before school starts because they are hiding the truth of their gender identity from their parents but are out at school.
The idea this is somehow different if it mostly students with teacher oversight vs. a teacher alone is…weird. (Which is why my first assumption was ‘Do you think this is being done with taxpayer money?’, but that wasn’t it.)
And you aren’t answering that question because you don’t want to get into the details of why you don’t like it if a teacher is doing it. And I think I know why, and I even typed it out, but I deleted it, because it’s actually a transphobic reason, but let’s see if you have a different one.
1) I kinda wonder if I should point out that the premise of this is sorta a lie. Yeah, I’m sure some of that is donated and free to use, but in reality, there’s likely a bunch of students _buying their own clothes_ and merely keeping them with this.Report
Actually, rewind a second: Why does that it matter how any of that is structured anyway? I guess it could theoretically matter that it’s not school money, but…I thought we already cleared that up.
You’re acting like it’s some big difference between ‘a teacher has some donated clothes stored at the school that students can change into’ vs. ‘a student-lead club with a teacher sponsor has some donated clothes stored at the school that students can change into’, and I honestly can’t figure out what difference you possibly think this makes.Report
Actually, rewind a second: Why does that it matter how any of that is structured anyway?
Well, if I wanted to accuse someone else of being “privileged” and do that in a sideways fashion by pointing out that school clubs are funded a particular way, I’d probably bring up school clubs and ask if the person went to private school.
I suppose that that’s one reason that it would matter how it were structured, if I didn’t want to talk about how it was happening and would rather talk about the other person personally.Report
Uh, that was not why I was asking you. I was asking you because I recalled you had grown up in some sort of fundamentalist church and maybe that you had been attended that for school, too. (Which would sorta be the opposite of ‘privileged’.)
What is actually going on here is that people refuse to state their _actual objection_ to things and just generally act horrified at something we are apparently supposed to automatically know is horrific. But as the entire concept is just quickly reskinning homophobia into transphobia, those of us who are not transphobia have _literally no idea_ what is being complained about.
Teacher providing clothing to students is not horrific. I have a teacher for a mother, I know they do that all the time.
Students change clothes at school all the time. Often into clothes that parents would not approve of.
Teachers keep student secrets all the time, even from parents, because telling parents everything is a good way to get parents to act like idiots. My biological teacher straight up asked her class not to tell parents we were studying evolution because it would result in at least one idiot parent showing up and bitching.
There is some combination of thing I’m supposed to be horrified at here, and I’m sorta at the inescapable conclusion that the thing that is supposed to be horrified at is the ‘crossdressing’, and the rest of the framing is just ‘look at this man talking about how is helping students crossdress, which itself is a horrifying thing’.
It is really amazing how conservatives claim to agree with bodily autonomy WRT abortion, they just think the fetus also has rights…but then they turn around and show they don’t agree with it in any situations at all. What clothes you choose to wear is sorta the most basic bodily autonomy, it’s one there really shouldn’t be a dispute over, even for children, because making bad choices has basically no consequences at all outside of a few specific situations like ‘You cannot wear sandals when walking in snow.’Report
Really, your objection to a teacher calling Sam Samantha is…an establishment clause issue?
This is what I mention on the other thread about how out “deep principles” are actually just rooted in a vision of How Things Ought To Be.
In this case, your vision is that transgenderism is inherently false.
Sam wanting to be Samantha is simply untrue, objectively and for a teacher to affirm it is just wrong somehow.
“Establishment clause” here is the pretext, the tool that your underlying vision uses to build a neutral sounding objection.Report
You skipped the part where I said I would treat it differently if we are talking about a symptom of a diagnosed condition. And I would and a I think in that case (reasonable) accommodations really need to be made. Hence why every time it comes up I reiterate my opposition to these broad based laws prohibiting counseling and medical care.
But yea, if on the other hand it’s just a form of subjective belief and/or self expression, then I don’t see why it’s handled any differently than any other form of that.
Frankly I think the best way to resolve these controversies would be to agree on which it is, but instead there is kind of a bait and switch where sometimes it’s just a low stakes game of kids discovering who they are but other times it’s a matter of life and death medical care.Report
Why does it need to be a diagnosed condition, what logic tells us this is the dividing line between Reasonable Accomodation vs Establishment?
If a child says “I can’t eat the school lunch because it contains pork” do we need to have a medical diagnoses because otherwise it would be an impermissible establishment?
You seem to just be making up special rules for something that seems entirely harmless. It’s not like the teacher is doing breast augmentation in the classroom.Report
To be clear, the issue isn’t what kids can do. Kids can declare anything they want. The issue is what public schools can do. Boys can wear dresses and girls can declare themselves non-binary two spirits ’til the cows come home as far as I’m concerned.
And I’m not making up special rules. I’m actually suggesting applying the same rules we do everyone else, whether the issue is medical diagnosis of self expression.Report
So if the teacher actively provides a pork-free substitute is this as Establishment violation?Report
To answer in true lawyerly fashion, it depends.Report
At some point it becomes literally impossible to have conversations because of the people in them are too ignorant of the subject under discussion, and we have actually reached that point.
Changes in name for a student, and how they wish to be referred to, should be done by the STUDENT. That is the situation we are talking about, schools are not renaming their students, wow, that is a dumb thing to think.
You realize these people we’re talking about actually exist, right? They aren’t some extension of the parent or of the school, they are the ones asking to be referred to differently and the school goes along with it. Going along with it, to quote you, is NOT WEIGHING IN.
Notifying the parent, like the student has done something that is bad and the parent needs to be informed of this, is the ‘weighing in’ thing. Rejecting this name change and telling the students aren’t allowed to have it is also weighing in.Report
I’m gonna comment here to say that I think that the DEI nonsense in schools is mostly orthogonal to the original subject of this thread and post. That said I’m dubious there’re any pure sides on the matter. Teachers and administrators talk about wanting to keep their students gender nonconforming issues private from parents while simultaneously preening about doing that very thing on social media to earn adulation from their peers. The two acts are incompatible. If you were a member of the underground railroad in 1850 then you writing an article bragging about your participation to the local paper is contradictory to your stated aims- it endangers the fugitives and diminishes your effectiveness as an enabler of their escape. Likewise, if a teacher genuinely is concerned for their students privacy, then that teacher should be keeping their yap shut about this stuff- not preening on twitter or ticktok about how great an ally they are putting one over on those dumb square parents. This applies both on principled grounds-you’re indirectly hurting your students with your affirmation seeking; and practically- if you and your administers keep publicly proclaiming you’re going to conceal stuff from parents about their kids, then said parents will nod and dutifully fire your asses using their local control of the school and your virtue shall render said kids no aid at all from your apartment while you seek another job.
Absolutely conservatives taking these things, blowing them out of proportion and plastering them on national media are the bigger villains but the teachers and administrators proclaiming their allyship aren’t being truly supportive to those kids. They’re using them as props for their own self aggrandizing.Report
You realize the amount of teachers actually doing this are microscopic, right? And we can’t possibly have any idea of the teachers who are indeed keeping this sort of thing private?
This is extremely weird both-siding. “A very small amount of the people on one of the sides seems to be very insincere, ergo that side is impure’.Report
I agree the number of them doing is is likely small and that is certainly a consideration. I don’t consider both sides equal and never said I did. But the subject is in the public eye because of that, possibly miniscule minority, of self aggrandizing posturers and they should be called out. Especially since self aggrandizing posturing in general is easily one of the lefts biggest problems these days. Also, the response from the larger left majority of “it doesn’t matter what the parents think” is titanically self defeating for allies in teaching specifically and the left in general and should be noted and taken into account.Report
I’ll grant you there’s a point where children reach late high school where some of these things become more open for debate, and I think reasonable people can disagree on where that line is. But for elementary and middle schoolers? I don’t see how that can even up for debate. Parents need to be completely involved in any and all healthcare and treatment decisions.Report
You think names and pronouns are healthcare?Report
I dunno. Are they?
Because if they’re not then it’s really not that huge a deal either way but then we also definitely need to get off of this idea that if everyone doesn’t perfectly go along with it there will be this parade of horribles up to and including suicide. But if they are healthcare, then yea you need parents and professionals involved.Report
You think everything that reduces suicide is _healthcare_?
What sort of logic is that? You know anti-bullying measures reduce suicide, also, right?Report
You don’t know this, InMD, but you’re what’s called a transmed. You think that no one should be allowed to do any transition-related thing _at all_ unless they have actually gotten some sort of written permission from a doctor that demonstrates gender dysphoria.
This is…a concept that was invented out of deliberate gatekeeping and has absolutely no justification at all. There’s no other part of medicine that works this way, that requires you to prove you are a certain sort of person who is psychologically suffering in a certain way (To a doctor’s satisfaction.) to get physical medical care. You do not have to prove you need to be able to walk to get hip replacement surgery, you do not have to prove you can’t just live with glasses to get corrective vision surgery, etc, etc.
In fact, you don’t even need gender dysphoria to _be_ trans. Dysphoria is the feeling that your _body_ is wrong, but that’s not what being trans is. It is perfectly possible to have a gender different the one assigned at birth but be _perfectly fine_ with how your body is and not really care about altering it at all. And also there’s a whole raft of genders that don’t really _have_ a ‘correct body’. (Like me, for example. What does a non-binary person look like? Well, it looks like me, I guess.)
(Well, I lied above, there is one thing where you have to ‘prove’ how you feel: Pain medicine. Yes, transmedicalism treats trans people like _drug addicts_ instead of people who can make informed medical choices.)
That’s why transmedicalism has been pretty soundly rejected by both the trans community and the actually-paying-attention medical community at this time, moving to a concept called ‘informed consent’. Although there are still plenty of doctors that will require trans people to jump through hoops, but then again there are still plenty of doctors who will not give hysterectomies without the ‘permission’ of a husband. But it is not even vaguely considered best practices.
Now, informed consent is exactly the opposite of that. It is the idea that you actually have the right to alter your body with regard to its gender expression however you want as long as you fully understand what you are doing, it’s just basic bodily autonomy.
…and, informed consent is not actually even relevant here, because, of course, names and pronouns are not actually medical at all, and someone calling themselves by a different name does not have an side effects. But I thought I should actually point out where you have come up with your ideas, that they are what is called transmed, because I doubt you know, and that it’s pretty much been soundly rejected and discredited.
And having to explain pretty basic concepts like this to cis people who don’t actually know any of this, who know literally nothing about the discussions that have happened within the trans community and the medical community and stuff that is literally decades-old discussion, and think they’ve Figured Stuff Out, is why this discussion is _incredibly tiring_.Report
This kinda gets at the heart of the MLK Letter From Birmingham Jail complaint about middling liberals.
In his case, there were plenty of liberals who voiced support for civil rights, but only upon a long list of preconditions and stipulations.
Like black people had to behave correctly, protest correctly and always to the satisfaction of the white liberals who set themselves up as gatekeepers and arbiters of who was deserving of equality.
Here we see all sorts of provisos that trans people must meet in order for their gender identity to be judged “true” versus some sort of false delusion which can rightfully be suppressed or punished.Report
Honestly, it’s even worse than that, because a lot of the liberals throwing trans people under the bus _are gay_. They aren’t ignoring everyone else, they’re _betraying_ everyone else.
Backstory: The gay rights movement has long has push and pull between assimilation and liberation. Between the androgynous man wearing a biker jacket and skirt hooking up with two men, one woman, and one undeclared, vs, a lesbian couple wanting to live in suburbian, married with two point four kids. The right to be who you actually were vs. the right to be exactly like straight people. To sum it up in the liberation slogan: Not gay as in happy, queer as in _f*** you_.
And, back in the 90s, the movement, almost consciously, found that gay marriage and equal rights were in reach, and _backed off_ liberation. Trans and gender-nonconformance got backgrounded, polyamory got backgrounded, the argument was for _monogamous marriage_ and _raising kids in it_, the more ‘normie’ thing that could be done. Society was presented with the idea that, officially: Gay people are exactly like everyone else except they genetically vary in the target of their sexual attraction and they deserve the same life as everyone else.
And all the weirdos backed off and let that happen. And the thing is, this wasn’t any formal agreement, no one actually made this decision, but the implication was always ‘We do that _first_, we get our foot in the door, and then we do the rest of it.’.
And then assimilation mostly won what they wanted…and decided it was over. They got what they wanted, no one else mattered. Trans people? Never heard of them. Well, maybe they exist, after years of being bounced and filtered through the medical system. But hey, look, all the corporations and the cops at Pride. We won!
If we want an analogy to the past, I think it’s more like the first wave feminist movement, which was full of women of color, but completely screwed them over when their endgoal was in sight for white women. That’s a really interesting history that I think some people should read, pretty well documented, how white feminism took the support of WoC until the very last second, and then was like ‘And now, white women get to vote! And we’re done here!’Report
My kid is mentally ill. She had to prove, to a doctor’s satisfaction, that she suffers from depression in order to get the depression meds.
Her magic pill is a life changer because her depression is a physical disorder.
That pill is heavily controlled because it has a host of nasty potential side effects, including suicide, which thankfully have not come up.Report
Depression is a disease that, by definition, includes mental suffering, so that’s not really the example that makes sense.
Doctors basically used to _require_ an emotional state, aka, gender dysphoria, to accept that someone was trans. It would be like, for your daughter to get her _asthma_ treated, she had to prove her untreated asthma was causing her to get very upset, and if it wasn’t, well, no treatment.
But…also…what you described _is_ informed consent.
Your daughter had one appointment where some basic questions were asked. (Maybe ended up there from other doctors, but the actual diagnosis was one appointment.) And the doctor took her statements about herself and her mental state at face value, diagnosed her based off of that, made sure those statements indicated a medical treatment was needed, made sure she understand the risks, assuming she’s a minor they ran it past you (although depending on the state they might not have technically had to if she was over 15 and sufficiently mature and didn’t want you told), and moved forward with that treatment with her consent.
That’s informed consent, and almost the only place it even _has_ a name and is talked about is in gender care, because it’s literally just how medical works _in general_ outside of that.
‘Prove it’ in the case of the trans people, used to require (and often still does), required jumping through hoops for years. Before you could even get any _medicine_, you had to live as a person of that gender for _two_ years to the doctor’s satisfaction, which often included things like ‘dressing how the doctor think a person of that gender dresses’, and ‘being a straight person of that gender’. Trans women have all sorts of horror stories about showing up to doctor appointments in _pants_ and suddenly their doctor decided they weren’t really trans.
To be very clear: I’m not kidding or exaggerating, if anything I am way _underplaying_ this, trans people literally traded checklists of how to lie to doctors to make sure their medical care actually continued, because doctors felt entitled to just cut it off for basically any random reason they felt like, because they thought they were more capable of deciding if someone was trans than the person themselves.
It’s why there are all sorts of medical studies out there showing that all trans people have gender dysphoria, studies that are complete nonsense because _lying about that literally used to be the only way to get care_.Report
Incidentally, there are two other places in medicine that don’t really work off informed consent.
The first is providing painkillers, which is due to drug addicts…and I don’t want to derail the conversation so I will not really go into that.
The second is the same as the trans thing, something done by bigoted outdated idiots, and it’s the whole ‘refusing to do any sort of medical treatment that impacts a woman’ fertility. There are so many young women out there with POS with extremely painful bleeding or other stuff like that that have (correctly) realized the actual best solution to their situation is a hysterectomy, only to realize that often _doctors will literally refuse to do that_, because ‘what if they want kids later??!?!?!?!11’.
It’s the exact same thing where women can’t get their tube’s tied without permission of their husbands, and used to have a problem even getting _contraceptives_.
It’s an extremely sexist view of the world where women are birth machines that are the property of their (possibly future) husbands, and doctors will just…refuse medical care that could alter that.
And I think it’s very telling that it’s one of the only other place this sort of gatekeeping happens. Because it’s out of exactly the same concerns, a rigid worldview with no bodily autonomy existing. (In fact, transphobes have recently started whining about infertility as they have suddenly realized trans men existed, like that isn’t a choice people with wombs can even hypothetically consent to.)Report
I still think you have the causality backwards. Drag Queen story hour, for instance, was started in 2014 if I recall correctly. It has only blown up into national media attention in the past few years because flailing right wing actors glommed onto it like a drowning man grabbing onto a log in a storm. It is, also, not an example of captive kids being indoctrinated by anything (even if you don’t, reject the somewhat ludicrous idea that people in drag reading to kids is indoctrinating of anything, let alone trans matters). The only way kids end up at DQSH is if their parents take them there. I’m firmly of the opinion that, while DEI nonsense has been slowly trickling out of the academy, it is this national attention and focus that is really turbocharging it. Social Justice agitators are going to go where their enemies proclaim the battlefield is. Right wing media proclaimed the libraries and schools to be the battlefield so the social justice actors are charging into battle from their own places of power-through educated idealistic young teachers, administrations packed to the gills with DEI supporters trying to carve out their own slices of the education funding pie etc…
And this lumping in of drag with trans really baffles me. I assure you, if one tried to treat a trans person like a performing drag queen/king one’d look utterly clueless and get a very frosty talking to (if one was lucky). The two communities are not remotely the same, frankly I’m dubious there’s much overlap between them at all.Report
The two communities are being spoken about in the same breath because the laws are being drafted that way.
The tsunami of laws almost always make no distinction between a trans person wearing clothing of the other gender, and a drag performer. And for that matter, make very little distinction between gay, lesbian or trans.
Notice how the Florida law bans a cis gay man from discussing his husband for example.
Which is why I refuse to engage on this on their terms of “protecting the children” or banning public lewdness or whatever bullsh!t excuses they hork up.
The entire thing, start to finish, is reaction against the changed mores in American society.Report
Really? You can see no connection between these guys dressing up as women and those guys dressing up as women? I mean, conceptually, it baffles you why people would draw connections? And as for a reason it’s become an issue, couldn’t it be because it’s relatively new and probably went unnoticed until parents started looking closer at curricula during covid? I am grateful that you confirmed that drag queen story hour is new, though.Report
Not all trans people are gay. Few gay people are trans. And a small subset of both groups participates in drag. So that Venn diagram has very little overlap. Having been exposed to both communities for some time – yeah it does baffle me that people are drawing connections.
What infuriates me is that people are passing laws to try and destroy both communities.Report
Heh, you clearly know few trans people or folks who participate in drag, Pinky me lad, if you summarize it that way.Report
You have to remember North that Pinky has said that Drag is inherently sexual and thus prurient, and that he doesn’t accept that transgendered folk are anything other then lost souls. So of course he labels them this way.Report
Veronica said the following about drag queen story hour:
“Plus queens are quite visible and obviously gender non-conforming. Some kids in the audience may think to themselves, ‘Hey, I’m kinda like that. Maybe I’m gay or trans or something. It’s okay if I am, because being so is normal and fine.'”
Does Veronica not know enough about the subject?Report
Veronica knows plenty about the subject, but that has nothing to do with your comment.Report
Then what was your objection to my comment? I was drawing an association between the idea of drag and the idea of being trans, one which you found baffling. But Veronica makes the same association.Report
Drag and trans are, by and large, opposite. Drag performers, generally*, have no particular difficulty with the nature of the body they were born in and instead embrace dressing up as an extreme flamboyant version of the opposite gender and giving over-the-top performances for the edification of themselves and their audiences. Trans people, oppositely, suffer from sexual dimorphism and find being in the gender roll they were assigned at birth disconcerting, degrading or even genuinely painful. The idea of performing in front of an audience is not an aspiration- it’s a nightmare and one that no small number of trans people feel like they suffer just as they go about their day to day lives. What drag performers seek, embrace and throw up on a stage trans people suffer, avoid and long to keep away from the eyes of others. That’s why the two are not merely different but virtually opposite.
But my primary objection was your characterization of trans people as “guys dressing up as women” on two levels. First in that it’s ignorant as trans men and drag kings very much do exist. Second in that it’s generally disdainful. I could describe Christians as “dudes who think their imaginary friend created the world and is responsible for everything” but I don’t, trans people don’t deserve that kind of lack of charity.
*I’m not personally aware of drag performers who go on to come out as trans and transition but I would presume it’s possible. In my own experience trans people in my orbits attitude towards sexual dimorphism is so opposite the attitude that drag involves that they would find it extremely unpleasant and even painful to perform drag. Trans isn’t a show, it’s their lives.Report
In my defense in my first comment waaaay back up there I said that I understand trans and drag is very much not the same thing. Hence my ‘what is this for’ question.
I will cop to definitely not being an expert on the origins of DQSH. I learned about it when we first discussed it here maybe 3 or 4 years ago. In the last 6 months the DQSH events at a county community center basically right up the street from me have been the scenes of some apparently rather intense protests (please don’t get me started on the people doing that either).
I’m happy to take your word that the right started it in terms of the panic. And I reiterate, I do not feel panicked about what are at the end of the day voluntary events. I am not itching to pass what are probably unconstitutional laws trying to stamp it out nor am I joining the proud percentage keepers or whatever hard right group is allegedly staging the protests.
But I had seen videos from what I believe were those performances that the OP referenced. They very much cross the line IMO, and even if they really are the bizarro outliers it’s clear to me that however it started it is becoming another front being fought by people who have some real trouble understanding boundaries with respect to children. That’s why I connected the two in my last reply.
Really what I would like is de-escalation, but I know that’s a pipe dream.Report
I’d be curious to see what video’s you’re referring to as, in my understanding, the Queens at DQSH are quite tame. For my sins (and ideological balance) I read ol’ Rod Dreher until he got fired from TAC. He was an early embracer of the freakout over DQSH and I am confident he’d have put up the most outrageous examples he could find and I, thus, would have seen them. I distinctly recall rolling my eyes at it.
Look at it this way: if we waved a magic wand, sent Kendi, Diangelo and similar left wing grifters into oblivious and relegated DEI and CRT back to the academic hothouses where they originated every substantive yelp and shriek the right has about trans people and also, separately, DQSH would remain completely unaffected.
Also you don’t need to defend yourself with me. I disagree with your analysis here but that doesn’t have any bearing on the esteem I hold you in.Report
I have literally done drag in the semi-conservative Baptist church I grew up in. I’d actually forgotten that until writing this post, the time that the boys in the youth group dressed as women for some skit.
It’s it possible that it’s because Republicans keep talking about how it’s the icky queers doing it? Maybe that’s why it suddenly _feels_ different but you can’t articulate why?
Your assumption is utterly wrong. Very little drag is adult-only entertainment. Almost all drag, or at least everything advertised as drag, is singing and dancing pop songs.
Now, in adult venues like bars, does that singing and dancing sometimes go a little blue? Sure. Just like everywhere.
And it’s weird we suddenly care about that with regard only to _drag_, when that sort of thing has been happening this entire time.Report
As I’ve said before, I’ve gone to a Drag Queen Story Hour. I saw no difference between that and when folks dressed up as Anna, Elsa, and Olaf showed up at the local winter festival to meet-and-greet the kiddos.
Wait, actually… that’s not true. In the latter scenario, Anna got drunk and started twerking. In front of the kids. In the former, a fully-dressed, costumed person did a very engaging reading of a beloved story.
If you’re going to talk about something, maybe know what you’re talking about first.Report
Wow, Kazzy, you sure caught me. I’ll have to remember those clairvoyant powers your preschool teaching gig gives you that allow you to know about what’s going on everywhere all at once before I go out on a limb again. Humbly, I sit chastened.
But maybe next time you can also use those super duper great skills of yours to actually read the comments, including where I specifically said my assumption is that these things are toned down to age appropriateness. Not a sermon, just a thought.Report
Doubling down on being wrong by being a dick ain’t the good look you seem to think it is. Later.Report
My goal is a respectful debate on what is IMO a challenging topic. I understand not everyone agrees with me, and that’s cool.
But as usual with your drop ins on this specific issue, you come in, take a shot at me personally without reading the larger discussion (or apparently in this case even the OP which included 2 references to family unfriendly drag shows where children were apparently an intended audience), then can’t take it when it gets thrown back. Now no one is obligated to respond to anything here but maybe you should reconsider why you engage in the first place, at least with me on this subject.Report
You commented on DQSH, something you’ve never experienced.
I commented on DQSH, something I have experienced.
Perhaps it is disrespectful of you to offer an uninformed opinion…?Report
The goal, very obviously, is to get people interested in joining their audience or even their community
It’s no different from “breakfast on the farm” where you go to a farm, eat, and wander around and see that the cows aren’t being abused.
They’re normalizing the activity so it’s not opposed when the kids become adults.Report
I don’t think I’d phrase it that way. It’s not normallizing the activity as much as the _people_.
It’s extremely well documented that prejudice and bigot are very correlated to not having experience with those specific groups of people, and that the easiest way to get rid of bigotry is to just…be around those people. Literally just interacting with them in a social setting. There’s a reason segregation existed, and it’s because it was needed to keep people apart, because you put them together, racism falls apart. (And it’s why a massive failure of this country is failing to figure out how to do this _more_. Even if you don’t like some of the stuff we tried, like school bussing, everyone who _actually_ wants racism to be reduced has to admit that we’d be better off if schools were better integrated. And churches, and other social situations.)
Yes, there will be some amount of kids who go ‘Huh. I think maybe I’d like to do that, either the performance part, or…just wearing clothes like that, you know, normally.’ (Aka, both people who want to do drag _and_ trans people.)
But the actual benefit is that the kids have interacted with some people who are, very obviously, not gender conforming (Even if it’s just for an act), those people acted perfectly normal and friendly, and they are going to be less prejudiced about people like that in the future.Report
If the actors from Monty Python wanted to read books to children, no one would blink. If they wanted to do so in costume, or better yet, if the Disney actors wanted to read in costume, then we’re getting into advertising.
Integration I’m fine with, thus the majority minority school she’s currently in.
Having her educational experience diminished by being around disruptive kids is a non-starter, and the educational expectations of the classroom need to be very high.
In short; Culture conflicts regarding educational standards need to be resolved my way.Report
At a library? They’ve never really cared about ‘advertising’ before. At least not via ‘the person who volunteers to read is a recognizable person who is selling themselves’. That’s just not a thing anyone has ever cared about, generally we let ‘famous’ people volunteer to do things with the full understanding they are getting some sort of positive PR from it.
If we’re going to start counting that as advertising, we need to ban politicians from reading in libraries first, because it’s clearly not permissible to have the government involved advertising _them_.
Whereas, even if we treat this as advertising…libraries are perfectly willing to allow that. A huge chunk of libraries _and schools_ participate in a reading program done by Pizza Hut, for the first example that springs to mind.
This is just some very silly deliberate attempt to find an objection to this.Report
The cartoon GIJoe has been compared to a half hour advertisement for a line of children’s toys. It’s not true legally, but there’s an element of truth to it.
Similarly breakfast on the farm isn’t about opposing hunger.Report
“It’s like the trope that is frequently trotted out online when several news stories break in rapid succession: “What is that they don’t want us paying attention to?””
Yes but no. This isn’t the news media drumming up controversy where none exist or online keyboard warriors engaging in mentally aggressive navel gazing. Legislation is being proposed and laws are being passed, all by one side. They’re taking intentional, proactive effort. If we don’t pay attention and respond, things that were previously legal will now be illegal and folks will be arrested and/or goto jail.
If you’d rather there not be a national discussion about trans-related issues, maybe start with the side that is creating trans-related issues where none existed before.Report
Were any of us exposed to anything like this in our school experiences? Anything beyond mention of gays/lesbians, if that? So we should be able to acknowledge that something changed between then and now. I think it was 10 years ago that I first started hearing about this in schools.Report
Those of us who grew up going to Mardi Gras got days off from school to go see similar things.
Get over it.Report
Would you say that most students outside a 50-mile radius of New Orleans were as exposed to this 10 years ago as they would be today? And if not, then “the right started this fight” isn’t a valid position, correct?Report
Mardi Gras is celebrated annually from Mobile to Lafayette (including Baton Rouge and all the cities and parishes north of New Orleans, so it covers a LOT of geography. When I was a kid in the 1970’s it was routine to see women at mardi gras walking around semi-naked in painted skin. Float themes have long been risque as have float riding costumes. The flashing of breasts to get beads is a tradition almost 50 years old, though no one can exactly pinpoint when it starts. And all in three of the most conservative southern states.Report
So, 150 miles?Report
You know my mother wasn’t exposed to Black children in school? Please explain the logic of “were not exposed to things like this” being meaningful in any sense.
Also…explain what you think ‘things like this’ are. Kids are exposed to plenty of drag. I literally did a drag performance in my church with other member of my youth group…and no, this wasn’t some liberal church, it was a Baptist church that voted _over a decade later_ as to whether or not it should have women deacons…although it did admittedly decide yes.Report
“Please explain the logic of ‘were not exposed to things like this’ being meaningful in any sense.”
I wasn’t arguing that if something didn’t used to exist, it shouldn’t happen now. I was arguing that if something didn’t used to exist, it’s wrong for liberals to claim that the right went looking for a fight.Report
Given that this whole sordid thing revolves around sexual and gender identity, I think its worth noting that Flrodia is now moving to tkae any and all such discussions out of the classroom:
I hate to break it to our conservative fellow OT’ers, but refusing tot talk abut these things, taking away a parent’s rights to support their kids with standard of care, and conducting undercover investigations of drag show as an intimidation tactic won’t make drag, or queer culture or queer or trans people go away. All it will do is push them back underground where self harm will increase. And it will reinforce the notion that the GOP actually does love big government, so long as that government is policing people’s bedrooms.Report
The current funny thing is that the WaPo is releasing TikToks explaining how schools are being “flooded” with record requests.
Transparency is forcing districts to reallocate funding and staff resources!
Awww, being responsive to the people who fund your pay is hard…..Report
I’m just glad that the school districts without a single student achieving proficiency in math or reading don’t have to deal with this crap.Report
Sure about that? Let me call my friend who works in the inner city in Baltimore…she what she says……Report
Wait ’til the parents start asking about the math, history, and English being taught.Report
I am an optimistic person, but in my darker moments I have wondered if the whole point isn’t to keep us talking about anything but that.Report
So you believe conservative parents are digging in on CRT and sexual health discussions to deflect from history and english?
Fascinating . . . .Report
I think that the criticism is more like “conservative parents are easily distracted by stuff like CRT and sexual health discussions” and they are being distracted away from stuff like the four ‘R’s: Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling.Report
No, he’s saying that it feels like the educational system is inviting us to talk about race and sex issues rather than look at what a bad job they’re doing at everything else.Report
Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning?Report
I’m sorry, I don’t want to pick on someone for typos, but “Is our children learning?” is rarely asked, and I’m struggling not to laugh out loud at that observation.Report
It’s an old quotation from Dumbya.
The “official” explanation was that Dumbya began a speech with the question “Is…” then trailed off and asked “Are children learning?” but it got transcribed as: “Is our children learning?”
But they would argue that, wouldn’t they? Pretending that we didn’t hear what we heard?Report
Do you really have to hall monitor everything?Report
You need to hang out with a better class of people if you’re accusing me of hall monitoring. I like InMD, and I thought the phrasing was funny. I didn’t know the reference.Report
The world is bigger than you happen to know.Report
I did not feel hall monitored and I am glad you got a laugh, that was the intent!Report
Well then someone missed the memo since all the CRT discussions have been around history and English and literature haven’t they?Report
No, there are also ones about how requiring people to show their work when doing a math problem is racist.
Here’s a line from Richard Delgado’s 2001 book “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction“:
There’s also this really awesome Guide to Whiteness and White Culture that the Smithsonian put out (later retracted) that talked about stuff like the Scientific Method, Time, and Justice.Report
Its also lazy teaching if the answer given is correct.Report
Yeah, asking the students to make more stuff for you to grade is some seriously lazy crap right there.Report
Florida reintroduces math textbooks scrubbed of ‘woke’ contentReport
Say what you will about the school districts that don’t have a single student proficient in reading:
You can put whatever you want in the books and the parents won’t care.Report
But what about your Negro schools?Report
You know, there was an article about that the other day.
Half of Black Students Can Barely Read.
You know what?
I’d rather talk about gender stuff and CRT. Man, those white people have really thin skin when you imply that they don’t care about Justice, don’t they?Report
Wait, this is Thursday. Shouldn’t the deflection be “what about the police unions?” Or is it Qualified Immunity Day? Or Dr. Seuss Day?Report
Let’s copy/paste something from earlier in the thread:
Your point being that you started upthread?Report
Yeah, I was getting back to it.
Because I think that stuff like CRT and sexual health discussions are being use to distract folks away from the *SERIOUS* systematic failures that the schools are having happen under their watch and, get this, the schools are *ACTIVELY* attempting to cover up.
Because there isn’t really a way to make “is our children learning?” a culture war issue when it’s being demonstrated that they aren’t.
QUICKLY! LET’S TALK ABOUT DRAG SHOWS FOR STUDENTS!!!
A school recently got in hot water for a drag show lapdance given to a minor:
From Yahoo News:
It’d be a lot harder to distract people away from failures if stuff like this didn’t keep happening.Report
OK. Take it up with the people who made CRT and sex and drag shows an issue in the first place.
Can I say that they’re the ones who say stuff like this?Report
No. And you know why not.Report
Does Richard Delgado count as someone who made Critical Race Theory an issue?Report
No. And you know why not.Report
To be quite honest, if Richard Delgado doesn’t count as someone who made CRT an issue, I cannot comprehend what measure you’d be using.
Wait, is it “are they on my team?”?Report
Thank you for informing us of your internal state. The answer, however, is simple. It takes two to make something an “issue.” The mere existence of CRT does not make CRT an “issue.” Anyone who thinks he understands it is free to disagree with it, write it off, or ignore it. Just as the mere existence of gays does not make the treatment of gays an “issue.” Anyone whose tastes run in different directions is free to pursue sexual practices more to their taste. There is no issue until someone tries to do something about it. Like ban non-existent CRT in K-12 education. Or restrict gays from enjoying the same rights as the rest of us.
That wasn’t hard, was it?Report
So I can say “Irish people are predisposed to drunkenness” but it’s the guy who says “WHAT THE HELL?” that is making it an issue?
That’s an interesting dynamic that you’ve pointed out.Report
Glad to oblige.Report
Monday is “Crime is OuttaControl!” day.
Tuesday is “Reduce the power of government” day.
Wednesday is “Why did they suppress the book about Chinamen?” day.
Thursday is the “Whattabout Black Crimes Against AAPI?” day.
Friday is “Just Asking Questions” day.Report
“No, there are also ones about how requiring people to show their work when doing a math problem is racist.“
[Narrator: Schools do, in fact, still ask and teach kids to show their work.]
If you’re wondering what your kid is doing in school, start by asking the teacher.
If you’re wondering what other people’s kids are doing in school, start by asking yourself why?
If this is really about parental rights (hint: it’s not), why are so many non-parents weighing in so heavily.
If this is really about what is best for children (hint: it’s not), why are so many seeking to not only exclude but demonize the voices of experts of child and adolescent development, learning, health, and well-being?Report
[Narrator: Schools do, in fact, still ask and teach kids to show their work.]
Nobody said that schools didn’t.
The claim was “all the CRT discussions have been around history and English and literature”.
My statement was pointing out that there were additional CRT discussions than those pertaining to history and English and literature.
If you’re wondering what other people’s kids are doing in school, start by asking yourself why?
I’m not wondering.
I’m actively pointing to research showing that there are more illiterate Black kids in San Francsico, as a percentage of Black kids, than there were under Jim Crow.
This isn’t about parental rights, it’s about how the institution is failing and failing hard.
But I can totally see why we’d rather talk about drag shows.
Hey, Kazzy. Have you ever gone to a Drag Queen Story Hour? Was it fun?Report
Once again, you’re bullsh!tting us.
The Republican war on teaching accurate history has nothing whatsoever to do with a desire to raise black literacy.
The Republican war on drag shows has nothing whatsoever to do with raising black literacy.
The Republican war on abortion has nothing whatsoever to do with raising black literacy.
The Republican war on the administrative state has nothing whatsoever to do with raising black literacy.
There is not one thing Republicans are doing which has anything to do with raising black literacy.
You are literally just doing the Stalinist thing of using “Negros” as an all-purpose deflection against any criticism of Republicans.
Did you think no one would notice? Did you think it would be effective to counter our pointing out the faults of Republicans?Report
The Republican war on teaching accurate history has nothing whatsoever to do with a desire to raise black literacy.
Oh, I agree with that!
This is about what to teach the kids who know how to read, that’s for sure.
But if I were to put my faith in anybody on Team Education, it’d be the teams that are more likely to have kids that can read.Report
I’m fine with teaching accurate history, it’s the claim that events which happened to grandparents outweigh dysfunctional parenting and/or bad cultural values that I disagree. From a high level, CRT looks like a way to excuse failure and thus enable failure.
I expect the school system to drop the ball on occasion. They are a tool. They serve me, not the other way around.
“Black literacy” being low showcases both that the school system isn’t working and also (more importantly) that the parents aren’t stepping in. In this situation lots of distractions and reasons why the system isn’t really failing will be found.
Those distractions and reasons should be ignored.
Part of your job as parent is to occasionally be painful to the school system. They need to be kept on task. They need to understand that failing your kid isn’t an option. Your interests (educating your child) aren’t always well aligned with theirs.Report
Wouldn’t it be nice if all parents had the time and psychological energy to do that sort of thing. But when you are a single parent working two jobs with an hour commute either way to and from work you don’t.Report
Wouldn’t it be nice if all parents had the time and psychological energy to do that sort of thing. But when you are a single parent working two jobs with an hour commute either way to and from work you don’t.
This is a great point.
So what happens when the schools are failing students?Report
Yes. Having two parents is an absurdly massive advantage.
There doesn’t seem to be a way to get away from that, so it’s both the problem and the solution.Report
A solution is to pay people enough to live on a single income stream regardless of how many people are in the house.
Another solution is to pay teachers enough to attract real quality folks nationally – in every district – so that there are fewer disparities.
Another solution is for Americans to pay what quality education costs in taxes, not keep accepting tax cuts under lame excuses about growth that never pan out.
A final solution is to stop treating schooling like a business with performance metrics, and get back to treating it as a public benefit to which every student is entitled.Report
“My statement was pointing out that there were additional CRT discussions than those pertaining to history and English and literature.”
Yes, but Kazzy didn’t pay attention to those discussions and therefore to him they don’t exist.Report
But I can totally see why we’d rather talk about drag shows.
Who is this “we” who want to talk about drag shows? People were going about their business doing drag shows pretty much unmolested, with nobody saying anything, until a bunch of wingnuts starting talking about it — or maybe making an “issue” about it. I, too, can totally see why the people who started talking about drag shows would rather talk about that than anything serious. I think we draw different implications, though.Report
Who is this “we” who want to talk about drag shows?
The people who accuse the people who want to talk about failing schools of changing the subject.Report
So, basically, nobody. It usually isn’t hard to tell whether the “subject” was drag shows or failing schools, and who changed it. One clue is who first brought up drag shows. Or whether people were talking about failing schools and someone else started talking about drag shows.Report
If we want to talk about whether it’s appropriate for drag shows in school, we can talk about parents and the administration and who has jurisdiction over what and whether there are areas where the administration shouldn’t wander into and whether there are things that aren’t the parents’ business.
I’d like to hammer that out, actually.
Heck, I don’t think that we even *NEED* to talk about drag shows if we can hammer out jurisdiction first. We establish the ruleset and then, tah-dah!, place things against the ruleset and see what falls where and what is in a grey area.
As it is, we just have someone saying that drag shows are okay and other people yelling that they’re not and I don’t even know what ruleset we’re using.
But it does strike me as generating a lot of friction when we also seem to be in a situation where there is a massive systemic failure going on.
It’s like we’re arguing over the colors on the sign in front of the store as the store is rotting and also on fire somehow.Report
People want to talk about what they want to talk about and not what you or I want them to talk about. Damn perverse of them. Make them stop.
But to get back to the point, who insists on talking about drag shows to begin with, and when they start on that are they horning in on some actual discussion of failing schools and hijacking it? Or are they just talking about something we’d rather not talk about and, perhaps, would rather they not talk about?Report
I certainly wouldn’t want to say “don’t talk about what you want to talk about, talk about what I want to talk about!”
I will say that there seems to be an institutional failure going on and arguing about drag shows instead of the institutional failure is arguing about deck chair arrangement on the Titanic.
I certainly don’t want to *MAKE* them stop.
I do think that the institutional failure is a much more important story.
I suppose how I can see how it’s less interesting, though. Let’s face it: kids not being able to read is a drag. Wait! That’s a pun! Ha! I didn’t even mean to make it until I had typed it out! Sigh.
Anyway, kids not being able to read is a downer.
Drag shows? Hell, that’s fun! That’s culture war stuff!!!
And conservatives are very easy to distract with culture war stuff.Report
I certainly wouldn’t want to say “don’t talk about what you want to talk about, talk about what I want to talk about!”
Alert! Someone has hacked Jaybird’s account.Report
Eh, I think that talking about me instead of talking about the institutional failure is a good way to try to change the subject. It works on a lot of people.
But I’m kind of aspy.
It’s easy for me to shift back into talking about the institutional failure.
Remember this story? “D.C. Schools Brace for Catastrophic Drop in Graduation Rates”
It seems that the school district was engaged in shenanigans when it came to reporting numbers. Only 19% of the seniors at Anacostia High School were passing the courses that were mandatory to graduate. Less than 1 out of 5!!!
I’d probably prefer to talk about the culture war if I saw those numbers and felt like I had to defend them.
Maybe talk about the person who brought them up.Report
Maybe talk about the person who brought them up.
Sounds like a good principle: talk about what the people who started talking about something are talking about. So rather than talk — on a thread responding to a post about people getting weird about drag queens and David — about actual people who brought up drag queens instead of talking about lousy schools, you’d prefer to talk about hypothetical people who brought up drag queens as a clever way of not talking about lousy schools.
Personally, I think that the DC schools aren’t particularly unique in the whole massaging of numbers thing.
There are a bunch of high schools that have graduation rates that exceed their proficiency numbers.
There are probably a *LOT* of failures out there that are still being covered up the way that the DC schools were covering up failures.
How would you even begin to address that sort of thing?
QUICK LET’S TALK ABOUT DRAG QUEENS
MAYBE WE WON’T HAVE TOReport
Thanks for the quick confirmation.Report
Here’s a new one: Not a single student can do math at grade level in 53 Illinois schools. For reading, it’s 30 schools.
There was a complaint about how I was only focusing on the East Coast a while back. This is happening in San Francisco and the Midwest too!
QUICK LET’S TALK ABOUT DRAG QUEENSReport
A quick review, it looks like 18 schools are on both lists. Yes, I caught you, YCCS-Community YDI HS, going as YCCS-Comm Youth Dev Inst HS on the other list. But you’ve got to admire Lovejoy Elementary School and Lovejoy Middle School being on both lists. Good work, Alton High!Report
Here’s an idea: if you want to talk about this, write a post about it. Then if people want to talk about it, they will And if anyone brings up drag queens, you will be well within your rights to call them out for changing the subject.
Remind me again of the title of the post we’re commenting on here.Report
Here. Let me quote the post we’re commenting on:
What don’t they want us paying attention to?
If I had to guess, I’d say it was the systematic failure.
“meaningless but emotionally gripping news stories”?
It’s a hell of a lot easier to talk about drag queens. They’re emotionally gripping… but meaningless. Certainly when compared to the systematic failures.
Wanna know what’s happening in Portland’s schools?
Their scores are plummeting.Report
Again, who is this “they”? One would think the relevant “they” is those that are making a stink about drag queens and David. If they weren’t doing that, there wouldn’t be stories about it.
Not that they are any more likely — maybe even less likely — than anyone else to want to talk about what you want to talk about. If they are using drag queens as a distraction, it’s likely to be from something other than the general state of our schools. Like, perhaps, having nothing they can sell about real issues.
If you’re tired of drag queen talk, I don’t blame you. But aim your fire at the identifiable and known people who got worked up about drag queens and dragged this phony issue into the public sphere, like, for example, MTG, instead of making up hypothetical folks who have, with devilish cleverness, grabbed onto this issue to avoid talking about something there is no evidence that they are unwilling to talk about.Report
Again, who is this “they”?
Believe it or not, the post talked about this too.
I included the excerpt that talked about it.
Did you see the story that talked about all of California’s test scores last October? This is for *ALL* of California.
QUICK LET’S TALK ABOUT DRAG QUEENSReport
If you want to keep arguing with the voices in your own head, knock yourself out. I would advise, however, that you STOP YELLING. It’s not only a bad look, it could cause hearing loss.Report
I’m not arguing. I’m posting evidence of the systematic failure.
It’s the people who are telling me to talk about drag queens instead that are arguing.Report
We’re not telling you to talk about drag queens. In fact, we’d rather you didn’t. But people here were talking about drag queens, the subject of the post, and you interrupted.
That’s just rude.Report
Republicans all across America are suddenly talking about drag queens because they are afraid to talk about underperforming schools.
Here’s something I said above. I’ll copy and paste it:
Oh, so it is the conservative parents who are unwilling to talk about underperforming schools, so they are showing up and screaming about “Groomers” and drag queens.Report
To paraphrase a famous movie line, forget about it, Chip, it’s Jaybird.Report
As I said, they’re very easily distracted by culture war bullshit away from vitally important stuff like systematic failures.Report
Beclowning yourself over great art sometimes backfires:
Those woke universities with their cancel culture keep good Americans from learning classic virtues like not objectifying the male form while doubling down on controlling women.Report