“Iowa 4-H is reaching out to LGBTQ kids, and it’s causing an uproar among conservatives.”
At least, that’s how the Des Moines Register headlined its weekend article on the public furor that followed WND’s exclusive report on the campaign to impose a radical LGBTQ-transgender agenda on that state’s 4-H program – including compulsory transgender pronoun use and allowing biological males to use girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms.
WND had previously reported on a multi-pronged, state-by-state movement to impose highly controversial transgender policies on 4-H, the century-old, largely rural, traditional-values, agricultural youth organization that exists under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Although “the new set of rules has been available for public comment for over a month,” reported the Des Moines paper, phone calls to 4-H state director John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas’ office “picked up over the weekend as a result of a conservative national website publishing a story on the issue,” linking to the WND report by Managing Editor David Kupelian.
Chaisson-Cárdenas told the newspaper he heard from both “poles” of this argument in “pretty big amounts.”
“Some people are calling to say ‘Thank you. Go. Thank you for doing this. We need this. This affected my life when I was in 4-H,'” Chaisson-Cárdenas told the paper, “and then you have people saying, you know, ‘The wrath of God will fall upon you.'”
What exactly is included in Iowa’s 4-H “Inclusion Policy”?
The document begins with definitions of terms such as “polysexual” and “intersex,” then goes on to mandate that “4-H, including all paid and volunteer personnel, as well as youth members, will use pronouns and names consistent with a transgender or intersex individual’s gender identity.”
It further stipulates that, at any time during participation in 4-H, both youth members and adult leaders may “assert a gender identity that differs from previous representation.” That is, a biological male may claim he’s female and vice versa. Such assertion needn’t be supported by “medical diagnosis” or legal “identification documents.” Nevertheless, once the assertion is made, accommodation – from overnight housing to pronoun usage – must be met.
Accommodation requirements apply to restrooms, locker rooms, overnight lodging and athletic teams, in all of which individuals must be allowed access based on their chosen gender identity. These accommodations must be met even if others experience “discomfort” as a result. Perhaps most controversially, “4-H shall ensure nondiscrimination to provide transgender and intersex individuals equal access to programs and activities,” even in circumstances when the youth member’s family or guardian “raise objections or concerns” over their child’s decision to request such transgender accommodations.
The Iowa 4-H bulletin announcing the imminent adoption of the transgender policies invited public comment through Friday, April 13. Although the online survey is now closed and offline, comments may still be directed to 4-H state director John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas or to Marybeth Foster, Iowa 4-H’s organizational accountability manager.
The Des Moines Register article, strongly sympathetic to the LGBTQ side of the debate, was punctuated with three different transgender slide-shows and video features. This year, Iowa’s largest daily newspaper, which was founded before the Civil War, has also been nominated for an award for “Outstanding Newspaper Overall Coverage” from the LGBTQ media-monitoring organization GLAAD.
“Although the Des Moines Register frames the issue as 4-H ‘reaching out to LGBTQ kids,'” comments WND’s Kupelian, “a more accurate assessment would be that LGBTQ activists are attempting to impose, with as little fanfare as possible, an extremely controversial and divisive agenda – the same agenda that has already caused multiple 4-H leaders in Idaho to quit – on Iowa’s 4-H.”
“After the public comment period ends,” reports the Register, “a committee will look at the comments and decide whether to implement the guidelines as policy. In doing so, heavy consideration will be given to the youth voice, Chaisson-Cárdenas said.
“At the center of this for me is that we want every child to feel like 4-H is the place for them,” the state’s 4-H leader told the Register.