A radical change is taking place in America’s beloved, century-old 4-H youth organization – one that promises to create a schism as deep and damaging as the one endured by another beloved, century-old youth organization, the Boy Scouts, which many have recently declared “dead.”
“The Mormon Church has pulled out of the Boy Scouts because of their departure from their original mission,” Mary McAlister, senior litigation counsel for the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel, tells WND, “and 4-H’s core constituency could do likewise if 4-H insists on social activism that puts children at risk.”
“Social activism?” “Children at risk”?
McAlister is referring to a largely unpublicized, multi-pronged, state-by-state movement to impose highly controversial transgender policies – including the admission of biological males into female restrooms, locker rooms and showers and mandatory use of exotic transgender pronouns – on the nation’s 4-H rural youth organizations.
After WND’s exclusive reporting on this below-the-radar movement – first in Idaho, and then more recently in Iowa – the public interest law firm Liberty Counsel sent a strongly worded 2,600-word letter demanding, on multiple legal grounds, the Iowa State University Extension Service administering the state’s 4-H program immediately cease its planned imminent adoption of the radical LGBTQ agenda.
The letter’s deadline for receiving a response – absent which, Liberty Counsel says it “will take additional action to prevent irreparable harm to the rights of our clients” – is Monday, May 21.
4-H accommodation of ‘intersex,’ ‘polysexual,’ transgenders’
Although 4-H is administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, or NIFA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is overseen and guided by “a network of 100 public universities,” specifically their extension services. These universities in turn comprise the source of a coordinated and, until recently, quiet push to impose on 4-H highly controversial LGBTQ policies.
Although Iowa’s policy document spelling everything out, titled “Inclusion Policy: LGBT Youth and Volunteers,” was posted on the “Policy and Guidance” section of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach website, after WND’s coverage and Liberty Counsel’s subsequent entry into the controversy, the LGBT “Inclusion Policy” document was mysteriously taken down. WND reached out to John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas, Iowa’s 4-H youth development program leader at Iowa State University and the lead recipient of Liberty Counsel’s letter, asking why the document was no longer available to the public, but no response has been received as of publication.
However, the Iowa document is – aside from the inclusion of two paragraphs detailing Iowa State University’s nondiscrimination policies – identical in every respect to another national LGBT “guidance policy” document, which the Iowa version acknowledges as its source document throughout its footnotes. But that document, too, was removed from both the official website of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and from various other state university extension service websites, after publication of the stories about the controversy.
Fortunately, WND captured the original source document before then, and it is preserved here.
So exactly what sort of “guidance” is about to be forced on 4-H children as young as 5 throughout the state of Iowa (and other states)?
Iowa’s “Inclusion Policy” document, which begins with definitions of terms such as “polysexual” and “intersex,” 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.
‘Discriminatory,’ ‘unconstitutional,’ ‘unscientific,’ ‘false,’ ‘without legal authority’
According to Liberty Counsel’s letter to those administering Iowa’s 4-H program, “The [LGBT] Guidance is discriminatory, unconstitutional, and without legal authority. It makes a number of unscientific and false claims regarding issues of sexuality, and takes a radical political position on human sexuality. It misstates the law regarding protected classes, and falsely adds ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity or expression’ or ‘transgender’ status to those classes affirmatively recognized by federal and state law, and by fiat, elevates them above statutorily protected classes of biological ‘sex’ and ‘religion.'”
Other key points from the letter:
It is not “discrimination” for 4-H program participants to continue using correct (as opposed to false) gender pronouns. Government may not force others to call a person something he or she is not, nor to force others to assent to a lie, in matters of conscience, religious belief, and biology. …
It is not “discrimination” to maintain longstanding sex-appropriate accommodations for males and females, based on legitimate, unchangeable biological differences between the two sexes. It is not “discrimination” to respect safety and privacy rights based on biological sex; nor is it “discrimination” to respect parental rights to control the associations of their minor children; and maintain safeguards against child sexual abuse or voyeurism, whether by adults or other youth. …
Because sex-based accommodations are based on legitimate biological differences between males and females, it follows that a person’s physical biology must dictate which accommodations are appropriate in the 4-H program. Accommodations for biological females logically should be reserved for biological females, not biological males, and vice versa. 4-H has long adhered to this straightforward and logical demarcation.
Confronting one of the most controversial and shocking aspects of the 4-H transgender accommodation policies, Liberty Counsel notes that no “transition,” no “sex reassignment surgery,” no hormones – literally nothing at all, except an individual’s subjective statement that he or she feels like the opposite gender – is required to allow that person to share bathrooms, showers and overnight accommodations with children of the opposite sex.
The law firm writes:
Assuming, arguendo, that biological sex can be “changed” or “reassigned” (which it cannot – there are more than 6,500 unique differences between males and females at the DNA level), the Guidance does not just apply only to those “transgender” individuals who have altered their external biological characteristics to fully match that of their desired sex. Under this Guidance, youth need not undergo “sex reassignment surgery,” or even cross-sex hormone therapy, in order to be recognized as, and thus entitled to, the accommodations and treatment associated with the opposite gender. A male who identifies as “female” could remain a biological male in every respect, and still must be treated in all respects as a “female.”
McAlister adds, “To the extent the Guidance forbids an adult leader from obtaining parental consent from girls forced into rooming and showering arrangements with males, it undermines parental rights. Particularly at summer camp, camping events, or on overnight trips, 4-H youth of the same biological sex are placed in extremely close proximity to one another when sleeping, undressing, showering, and using the bathroom. Because of reasonable expectations of privacy, 4-H has long maintained separate housing, bathroom, and shower facilities for boys and girls.”
Liberty Counsel is demanding that, by Monday, May 21, 2018, the Iowa 4-H Extension and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s NIFA agency respond by affirming a series of changes the law firm is demanding, effectively ending the planned LGBT coup. Read the Liberty Counsel letter in full, including the specific demands it is making regarding the future of Iowa’s 4-H program.
Finally, Liberty Counsel is actively inviting Iowa 4-H families to join in their efforts. Any families concerned that the new LGBTQ policies might harm, confuse or intimidate their 4-H children are asked to contact Liberty Counsel either by emailing [email protected] or else by filling out the online “Request Legal Assistance” form on the firm’s website.