By Michael F. Haverluck
Lawmakers in Massachusetts are pushing hard to repeal the state's "Transgender Rights and Hate Crimes Law" – with a bill pending in the State Judiciary committee – before more damage can be done.
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The law, which Gov. Deval Patrick signed with much fanfare in front of children, has been called the most radical of its kind in United States history.
Even though it officially went into effect last July, efforts to stretch the state law as far as it can go on public school campuses have just begun to ramp up.
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"Town by town the school committees have been coerced into changing their official policies dealing with transgenderism," MassResistance President Brian Camenker told WND in an interview.
"The 'transgender agenda' onslaught is now hitting Massachusetts schoolchildren with full force," said Camenker, who's led the pro-family advocacy group for nearly two decades. "Massachusetts has begun forcing into the state's public schools the most thorough, invasive and radical transgender initiative ever on a statewide level."
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A new age of tolerance
Exactly what changes are being made to policies and procedures within public schools?
"The administration interpreted the law to allow boys and girls who identify themselves of the opposite sex as they are anatomically born to use whichever bathroom they choose," said co-author of the anti-transgender law measure, Bill H 1479, State Rep. Marc Lombardo, R-Billenca, in an interview with WND. "They would also be able to use locker rooms and play on sports teams based on which sex they identify themselves with, not based in their anatomical sex."
But along with "gender," schools have redefined "tolerance," as well.
"The directive is clear that there is to be no tolerance for students who become uncomfortable or upset at these situations being pushed on them," Camenker explained. "The school's approach is to be unyielding to any such discomfort, and to re-educate those students to have more 'acceptable' reactions and values."
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Under the new state standard to accommodate "transsexuals" at all costs, the rights of others suffer, critics argue.
"Some students may feel uncomfortable with a transgender student using the same sex-segregated restroom, locker room or changing facility," the state's new directive reads. "This discomfort is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student. School administrators and counseling staff should work with students to address the discomfort and to foster understanding of gender identity, to create a school culture that respects and values all students."
Agree, or else
At school, it's no longer okay to disagree, Camenker said.
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"This is also where the 'anti-bullying' law will play out," he noted. "As the Massachusetts anti-bullying law was written (much of it in collaboration with homosexual-transgender groups), any outwardly negative reaction against transgenderism can now be considered bullying, and subject to discipline and punishment."
Camenker argues "it is completely natural for a child to feel very uncomfortable using a female name for an individual they know to be male, or seeing a boy in girl's clothing, or to believe it's unfair that a boy is competing athletically as a girl."
"These reactions are now considered by the school to be backwards and disruptive," he said. "In other words, the phrase 'respects and values all students' only goes in one direction, protecting only a tiny, sadly disturbed minority."
Parents in Massachusetts are finding out that once their children set foot on campus, their parental rights are limited.
"The responsibility for determining a student's gender identity rests with the student or, in the case of young students not yet able to advocate for themselves, with the parent," reads a document issued to schools from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Camenker pointed out parents "may be completely excluded from the school's decision to officially designate their minor child as being the opposite sex – and even changing the school records."
"And except with very young children, the schools will accept a child's decision to 'become' the opposite sex, even without parents' knowledge or consent. Note that the DESE states that some homes may be the unsafe places," he said.
And that's not all, MassResistance reported.
"But shockingly, although the official 'confirmation' of a student's gender change might be from a parent, such official confirmation (for the school's legal purposes) is also acceptable from almost anyone, including another family member (perhaps an 18-year-old sibling or cousin), a family friend, a sports coach, or even a school staff member," the group said. "Confirmation of a student's asserted gender identity may include a letter from a health care provider. Photographs at public events or family gatherings are other potential forms of confirmation."
Camenker noted most public schools in Massachusetts "seem to have at least one pro-LGBT activist staff member who would be quite willing to confirm that a student is transgender, if requested." "Note that the guidelines allow the student to decide whether parents are part of the discussion at all … if it is felt that the parents might disagree."
Parents might be in for a surprise when they receive a report card for their son Henry with the name Henrietta on top, he said.
"The guidelines say that if a male student decides to use a girl's first name, or vice versa, then the school is required to use the student's 'chosen' name and pronoun ('he' or 'she') – no matter how young the student – and also update all of the school's records with the new name and pronoun," Camenker said. "The parent can be left out of the decision of what 'will benefit the student' if the student is not young. Note also that 'young' is not defined, leaving much leeway for the school."
If students aren't satisfied with dressing like the opposite sex, school guidelines help them reach the next step.
"The guidelines present a radical transgender prescription, blandly referencing (possibly even recommending) dangerous hormone injections and body mutilations that can disfigure a person for the rest of his life, cause infertility, and do other long-term harm (not yet adequately studied)," Camenker maintained.
"Some transgender youth who are close to reaching puberty, or after commencing puberty, may complement social transition with medical intervention that may include hormone suppressants, cross-gender hormone therapy, and, for a small number of young people, a range of gender-confirming surgeries."
He argued that new programs under the law work to harm, not help confused students.
"The business of gender identity is generally medical quackery ‒ diversity training and assigned sex at birth won't make any difference," Camenker asserted. "According to the health association, they have 'gender identity disorder' as something to be cured ‒ prolonged stress and misery instead of dealing with the problem is what the schools prescribe, which will result in more outrage from parents."
Camenker addressed the issue with state House Speaker Robert DeLeo, a transgender law advocate, approaching him at the conclusion of an event in which politicians and transgender activists celebrated their victory on the controversial law.
"I asked him why no one was considering the fact that the mental health profession officially considers transgender behavior to be 'gender identity disorder,' which is right out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV," Camenker relayed. "Then I inquired, 'Shouldn't there be some discussion about that. ... Shouldn't these people get medical help?"
DeLeo had little to say.
"He just looked at me, claiming he didn't know anything about that," Camenker continued. "As I was explaining, DeLeo's communication director stepped between us and told him, 'this guy is Brian Camenker from MassResistance' before pulling him away and out the door."
Not short on words
However, when it comes to championing transgenderism, DeLeo is not short of words.
"At my very first event as speaker of the House, I went to the MassEquality dinner, and I had made a statement that we were going to get this done," De Leo announced earlier at the event. "Henceforth, we as a Commonwealth will not have to tolerate hatred. … I'm so proud to be a part of such an important civil rights milestone."
Camenker insisted public schools' handling of the transgender issue is not based on any kind of professional or medical standard and is not taking any valid measures to protect the health and safety of students.
"There is no threshold medical or mental health diagnosis or treatment requirement that any student must meet in order to have his or her gender identity recognized and respected by a school," asserted Camenker.
"Furthermore, people with these body changes have been shown to have a much higher than average incidence of other health problems and psychological dysfunction, including suicide, [yet] the DESE makes no mention of any health hazards."
School officials and activists insist that the extreme measures are in the name of safety.
"[A] major theme, long ago adopted by the homosexual movement (and blindly accepted by many in the general public) is that all such efforts in schools must be done in the name of student 'safety,'" Camenker pointed out. "In the interest of 'safety,' schools are instructed to hold transgender diversity training sessions for all students and school staff. As we've warned people, the recent anti-bullying requirements are now being used for this purpose."
Lombardo, who wrote the bill opposing the transgender law with Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover, contends that policies under the law don't protect students but rather introduce them to new dangers.
"I think that 99.99 percent of our children will now have their safety and privacy put in jeopardy because of the radical social agenda being pushed by this administration," Lombardo asserted.
Yet schools are pushing forward with the LGBT plan promoted through its curriculum.
"It prescribes a thorough integration of transgenderism … and a frightening directive for cleansing 'gender' distinctions throughout school life ‒ this will affect all schoolchildren K-12," Camenker said. "Much of this is lifted from radical 'queer theory' constructs that have become popularized in the education field."
Same tactics, same results
Pushing same-sex "marriage" without voter approval in 2004, state officials implemented another tactic less than a decade later to push their transgender law through.
"In 2011 the governor, speaker of the House, and Senate president stepped in and used their political power, unethical tactics, and an underhanded late-night session to force it out of the committee and through the legislature without debate," Camenker recalled. "Since some pro-family groups had labeled it a 'bathroom bill,' the leadership took out the public accommodations section to make it appear more palatable, but left the bulk of it (including the most odious sections) intact. And so it got pushed through quite quickly."
Transgender law advocates likened themselves to iconic civil rights leaders in their victory over "discrimination."
"The speakers shared the view that forcing the inclusion of transgenderism, cross-dressing and related behaviors into society is actually part of a great Civil Rights crusade," recalled Camenker. "And they portrayed themselves as historical descendants of Gandhi and Martin Luther King."
And the scope of their change extends well beyond the schoolhouse gate.
"Under this law, the state takes away everyone's choice in the matter," Camenker asserted. "A male who wants to wear a dress and high heels never has to modify his behavior at work or anywhere else. It is now forced into all society. All businesses, schools, organizations (including churches and religious groups), government agencies and others must now accept, embrace and affirm 'transgenderism' or face harsh punishments by the state."
State Attorney General Martha Coakley is eager to make "bigoted and backward" opponents see things her way.
"As the governor gets to sign the bill, I'll get to enforce it!" Coakley exclaimed after the transgender law was signed. "We've been importantly deciding how we needed to clarify the law to explain to people who in their nearsightedness – I will say that gracefully – in their nearsightedness criticized it. I want to say today that this law will only increase our ability to prosecute criminal conduct and protect the civil rights of all."
Defusing the bomb
How tough does the writer of the bill think it will be to repeal the Bay State's new transgender law?
"Despite wide support from the public, I foresee a challenging path legislatively given that we know the governor will veto the bill," Lombardo said.
But Camenker believes Patrick will have his hands full.
"Yesterday, I was getting calls from all over the state and country … and even London called," Camenker said. "Hispanic pastors are very upset … we've gotten people's attention here. This is not over by any means. This bill is a vehicle to people's anger to repeal the law."
He urges Americans to boldly confront "the enormous number of lies, misinformation, intimidation and outright demonization" transgender activists have used to turn the state upside-down. He says people can donate to MassResistance to support the bill targeting the repeal of Massachusetts' transgender law.
With the transgender law pushing through without a vote from the public, do a majority Massachusetts citizens support it?
"The overwhelming response I've received from residents is they want the current law, which has been interpreted by the administration to include bathroom accommodation, to be repealed," Lombardo said. "Parents must get active and call their school committees and state representatives and senators and tell them to support changing this law."