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Do Parents Have the Right to Seek Help for Their Children?

Who decides what medical or mental health care is best for your child? Would it surprise you to know that in the mental health arena the ‘age of consent’ is only 13 years of age in Washington?  Like laws surrounding abortion, parents of adolescents are potentially cut out of the decision making and mental health care of their teenage children.

When it comes to mental health treatment for issues of sexual orientation or gender identity, it could be even worse.

Conversion therapy, the use of talk therapy to help children suffering from questions of Sexual Orientation or Gender Dysphoria, was banned in Seattle as of August 2016.

The legislation sponsored by Councilmember M. Lorena González made the practice of conversion therapy on minors by licensed medical or mental-health professionals punishable by fines of up to $1,000. It also prohibits the advertising of conversion therapy.

In 2017, the Washington state senate introduced SB5722, which would extend the ban to minors statewide. When the legislature returns early in 2018, the debate is set to continue.  If such a ban were to pass, parents would not be able to seek mental health treatment for their children who may be struggling with gender identity or sexual orientation issues.

The American Psychological Association (APA) calls transgender, an “umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.” The diagnosis often assigned these individuals by the clinical community is Gender Dysphoria. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) contains separate criteria for diagnosing it in adults and adolescents versus children.

While it is typically recognized that adult citizens of the United States have full jurisdiction over their own medical choices, those under 18 are considered under the authority of their parents. A debate, on these terms, surrounding the appropriate treatment for children and adolescents who may be transgender is taking shape all around the world.

The Daily Mail recently profiled parents who felt the state-sponsored, National Health Service (NHS) in England was pressuring their kids to go through with medical procedures to change their sex. The article reports that one mother was shocked to find her child being referred to a specialist transgender clinic, after only a 40-minute evaluation. Some of the parents made claims that their children only began hating the biological sex they were born after cases of extreme bullying by other students and that NHS employees refused to listen to their claims.

The rush to label children transgender comes on the heels of the NHS signing a “memorandum of understanding,” which is nearly identical to implementing a ban on conversion therapy. The memorandum makes it illegal for staff to challenge the person’s gender confusion.

It is pertinent to note that the science on this matter has not been settled yet either. There is much debate in the medical community as to whether transgender is a clinical disorder and furthermore if those who don’t adhere to the gender binary deserve protections similar to that which is guaranteed based upon immutable characteristics like race.

Dr. Quentin Vanmeter, a pediatric endocrinologist from the American College of Pediatricians does not view transgenderism as a civil rights issue. He says that transgenderism is a mental health issue, and there is no scientific evidence that it’s a physiological phenomenon. He believes that treating it as if it’s a natural phenomenon and speaking about it as a civil rights issue is doing a disservice to the children struggling with this type of mental illness.

He’s not alone either, former Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Paul McHugh, also believes that being transgender is a psychological problem, not a biological phenomenon. He thinks that transgender individuals should be referred to mental health counseling, not surgery.  A statewide ban such as Seattle’s on talk-therapy for minors dealing with gender dysphoria would make this impossible.

With a degree of doubt cast on the advocacy of LGBT groups painting transgender as a biological phenomenon and not a psychological problem, parents need to be skeptical of hormone therapies and sex reassignment surgery, which hold the potential to alter a child or adolescent’s  life indefinitely.

Parents should have the right to explore all of the options available for their children and adolescents and make the decision that seems most appropriate to them, not the state.

Genevieve Malandra is a contributing writer to Family Policy Institute of Washington.

Yakima School District Principal Instructs Teachers to Lie to Parents

A Yakima teacher is blowing the whistle on school administrators who he claims instructed him and his coworkers to “engage in active deception towards parents with regard to trans-gendered students.”

In a Facebook post on August 28, Jeremy Wuitschick, a teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Yakima, WA, gave details about an interaction with the principal at a staff meeting:

YSD [Yakima School District] PARENTS PLEASE SHARE: Today our principal instructed teachers to engage in ACTIVE DECEPTION TOWARDS PARENTS with regard to trans-gendered students that ask to be called a name of a different gender. I am a teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School.

I confirmed this by repeating this question three times to my principal in front of a group of 50 people.

Me: “Are you instructing teachers to actively deceive parents?”

Principal: “Yes.”

This issue is most troubling to me (not transgenderism but rather being told to lie to parents about what is going on at the school with their child).

One teacher raised the classic objection to dishonesty and lying; what if she accidentally makes a mistake and forgets which “reality” is the correct to articulate to a parent.

It is important to note that my objection is to intentional deception by agents of the state towards parents with regard to their own children, I HAVE NO PROBLEM CALLING ANYONE WHATEVER THEY WISH.

The school grounds its policy in federal FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) legislation, but this is not a legally coherent argument. According to FERPA 34 C.F.R. Part 99.4, “An educational agency or institution shall give full rights under the Act to either parent, unless the agency or institution has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, State statute, or legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation, or custody that specifically revokes these rights.” FERPA was carefully worded to prevent school districts like Yakima from turning it into a weapon to be wielded against parents of middle schoolers. That’s not stopping YSD, however.

This is the latest manifestation of a disturbing trend of state powers encroaching on the ability of parents to act as parents to their children. In 2010, a 15-year-old student at Ballard High School was given birth control by the school nurse without notification of the parents. The birth control failed, and the girl became pregnant. School officials then told the girl that they would cover all expenses including a taxi ride to and from the abortion clinic provided she withheld all information about what had occurred from her parents.

A few weeks ago, a California kindergarten teacher read books to her students explaining that perceptions of one’s body need not conform to the reality of their body. Afterwards, the class hosted a “gender reveal” for a gender dysmorphic boy who was attempting to look more like a girl. “My daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy,” one parent said at a public meeting following the incident, according to The Federalist. The parents of the students were not made aware that this would take place.

At Nova Classical Academy in Minnesota, lawsuits over sex-related issues have forced the school to keep all sex-education curriculum and sex-related policies hidden from parents and not allow parents to opt out of any classes or assignments regarding sexual morality. Joy Pullman at The Federalist wrote extensively on the situation:

“This month’s settlement after 16 months of litigation requires the school to make all uniforms available to both sexes, pay LGBT organizations to ‘train staff’ in politically correct behavior every three years, and ‘not adopt any gender policy that allows parents to opt out of requirements in the gender inclusion policy because of objections based on religion or conscience.’ This lawyer and Federalist contributor, after reviewing the settlement, said it appears to ban the school from even notifying parents of its sex policies.”

The sexual revolutionaries have no shame. They indoctrinate kindergartners with objectively false and harmful ideas about human nature. They push sexual activity on children as soon as young girls are old enough to take carcinogenic hormonal birth control. They put kids on a trajectory of sexual immorality and then grease the skids towards abortion. They do all of this, and you might never even know.

If it weren’t for the few brave enough to publicly reject leftist sexual orthodoxy and exclusion of parents from kids’ lives, we wouldn’t know of any of this. Legal theorists on the side of secular, anti-family “progressives” believe that the state grants you the right to be a parent and thus also has the authority to take away your parental rights. This particularly insidious understanding of the sacrosanct parent-child relationship is trickling down to the district level. It is up to parents to make sure public school officials don’t get away with it.


James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.


California Senate Passes Bill Criminalizing “Misgendering”

California State Senator Scott Weiner, feeling empowered by the lack of a conservative movement in his state, is attempting to criminalize traditional values. His “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights,” which was recently passed by the state senate, would make it a crime to “misgender” nursing home residents by referring to them according to their birth names and the sex inferred by their chromosomes.

Generally, traditionalists reject the “progressive” premise that society should treat men as if they were women so long as they claim to be women and vice versa. We don’t think it is appropriate to open all locker rooms, bathrooms, showers and sports teams to people of all biological sexes.

We acknowledge that there are real, measurable differences between men and women and that these differences should be reflected in some areas of society. Floyd Mayweather should not be in the boxing ring with a woman.  Young boys and girls should not be in locker rooms with unrelated adults of the opposite sex, sometimes showering within arms-reach of them. Women should not be forced to compete against men for athletic scholarships. Society can function properly only if these distinctions are acknowledged and respected. I contend, if I could be so bold, that the claims made in this paragraph are self-evident moral truths that any clear-thinking individual would recognize.

Senator Weiner has other ideas about how society should function. He believes that nursing home staff who point out inherent differences between men and women should be jailed. The current bill would apply only to patients in nursing homes, but there is very little doubt that California progressives aspire to expand the bill’s application once it’s in place. Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who specializes in First Amendment issues, wrote for The Washington Post that

“this proposed statute would on its face extend beyond just speech to the client, and would also cover speech about the client (since the relevant pronouns, whether ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘ze’ or anything else, are third-person pronouns that are generally used when talking to someone else about the person). And it strikes me as pretty unlikely that, if this law is enacted, such prohibitions would be limited just to this scenario (compare the official New York City Commission on Human Rights guidance, which says that ‘intentional or repeated refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title’ could lead to massive fines when done by any employer, landlord, or business or professional).”

It appears likely the bill will be passed and enacted into law. It has already passed the state senate and received unanimous approval from the state’s house judiciary committee. America’s largest state may soon be erasing biological truth and compelling Californians to accept biological falsehoods.

As Washingtonians, it is important to keep an eye on what is happening in New York, Oregon, and California. These are the states where the progressive left has total control. That which is proposed in California today could very easily be proposed in Washington tomorrow. Just look at the Washington State Department of Health’s announcement that it will pursue a “third-gender option” on Washington birth certificates. Unfortunately, California isn’t the only state attempting to use legislation to change objective truths.

“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?” -George Orwell, 1984


James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.


 

Proposed New Rule Would Allow “Third-Gender Option” on WA Birth Certificates

The Washington State Department of Health has announced its intention to adopt a new rule allowing a “third-gender option” on birth certificates.

If implemented, the new rule would formalize the department’s process for changing sex designation on birth certificates and add an option for a “non-binary” sex designation.

The Department of Health plans to begin gathering comments on the proposed rule next month. It hopes the rule will be adopted and implemented by January 2018.

In 2009, the Washington State Department of Licensing made it more difficult for Washingtonians to change their gender designation on driver’s licenses in an effort to reduce identity fraud and aid policing. The department has since reversed its policies.

Washington State isn’t alone in its proposal to offer a “third-gender option” on government documents. Oregon became the first state to offer the option on driver’s licenses and state ID cards in June, and California will shortly follow suit if a bill recently passed by the state legislature is signed by the governor.

The California bill faced opposition from the California Family Council, which “believes government documents need to reflect biological facts for identification and medical purposes,” said Greg Burt, the organization’s director of capitol engagement.

“Eye color, hair color, height, weight, and Sex: These are all listed on a driver’s license because these physical characteristics can be independently verified by physical evidence,” he said. “If you allow someone who is physically male to list themselves on a government document as a female, or vice a versa, then the government will be legalizing a lie.”

Up north, Canadians can now choose the “gender X” designation on their passports after their government changed its policy earlier this week.

Commenting on the “gender X” designation now available on Canadian passports, Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews that “the government is trying to force its citizenry, en masse, to deny scientific fact and biological reality.”

According to Fonseca, the “sexual revolutionaries” pushing for these changes “are willing to put our country’s national security and our privacy at risk.”

DOJ Ends Effort to Force Men into Spaces for Women and Girls

Last week, Jeff Sessions was confirmed as President Trump’s new attorney general to lead the Department of Justice. It has taken only days for the impact to be felt across the country.

On Friday, the Department of Justice signaled that it is ending efforts to force school districts to allow boys into girls facilities as a condition of receiving federal funding.

Last year, the Obama Justice Department invented new definitions of the term male and female under Title IX (without legislative input) that had the effect of forcing school districts to choose between the privacy of their students and the availability of federal education funds.

Twenty-four states had challenged the new interpretations, and a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the order on December 31st.

The next hearing was set for Tuesday, February 14th in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

However, on Friday, both parties filed a joint notice with the court to cancel the hearing.

This comes as welcome news to school districts across the country.

The timing of this issue is helpful for supporters of privacy in Washington State as well.  This week, Just Want Privacy will be distributing petitions for Initiative 1552, which would overturn a mandate from Washington State’s Human Right’s Commission that forces schools and businesses to allow men into women’s facilities.

An initiative effort failed to gather enough signatures in 2016.  But Just Want Privacy did not wait for the legislature to act this year.  They believe that having nearly five months to gather signatures instead of 9 weeks will allow the volunteer effort sufficient time to qualify for the ballot.

But the effort will again depend entirely on volunteers.  Everyone who cares about maintaining safe spaces for women and children in Washington schools and businesses is encouraged to become a volunteer, request a petition, and make a contribution.

Opponents of efforts to protect privacy in Washington State had previously argued that those efforts would jeopardize federal education funding.

The DOJ’s new position indicates that will no longer be a concern.

 

Read: Memo to School Boards Regarding OSPI Gender Identity Education Efforts

FPIW Memo

To: Members of Washington School Boards
From: Family Policy Institute of Washington
Date: 6 SEP 2016

Re: OSPI Gender Identity and Gender Expression Education

Dear School Board Members and Superintendents,

Educators and parents across the state of Washington have expressed concern over the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (OSPI) efforts to insert sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression into the elementary school Health and Physical Education standards in 2017-18.

The standards advise Washington State public schools to begin teaching students — starting in Kindergarten — about gender expression, gender identity, gender roles, and sexual orientation.

The 2017-2018 Health and Physical Education Standards document was written with the heavy implication that OSPI requires schools to teach these new topics. However, OSPI has made revisions to the Standards document, in which they affirm that the implementation of the outcomes relative to sexual orientation and gender identity is optional, not mandatory, and that “the new standards do not introduce any new teaching requirements.”

Furthermore, OSPI has written in an email to multiple parents: “The standards clearly do not instruct districts to teach students about gender expression/identity/roles. Districts adopt curricula; the state doesn’t dictate that. We include suggested grade-level outcomes on the topic of self-identity if a district adopts a curriculum that includes that topic.”

OSPI has been the subject of an outpouring of criticism from both Washington State educators and parents, worried that public schools will begin teaching young, impressionable students about highly controversial and politicized topics like sexual orientation and gender identity, as a result of these standards.

Parents’ apprehension echoes a statement released by the American College of Pediatricians, a national professional association for pediatricians, advising schools against teaching gender ideology to children in the classroom. According to the pediatricians, teaching children about gender identity, if done improperly, can be harmful to their development.

Because these suggested topics are not required to be taught, there is no risk or liability for a school district that does not adopt a gender identity curriculum.

You are encouraged to contact OSPI to confirm that the new guidelines do not create a requirement to teach gender identity or expression to kids at (360) 725-6000.  If we may be of assistance, please call our office at (425) 608-0242, or email info@fpiw.org.


Family Policy Institute of Washington | 16108 Ash Way, Suite 113 |

Lynnwood, Washington | 98087

www.fpiw.org | info@fpiw.org

New York City Announces Protections for 31 New Genders

 

Do you have a hard time selecting from the traditional two sexes of male and female? Is it difficult for you to conform to the “societal construct” of the gender binary?

We have good news for you! Last week, New York City’s Human Rights Commission created a new list of 31 protected gender identities from which New Yorkers can now choose.

The list includes classic gender identities such as ‘two-spirit,’ ‘pan-gender,’ ‘third sex,’ and ‘gender gifted.’ If it’s been a while since you’ve been to school and you’re unfamiliar with modern gender language, our very own University of Washington offers a convenient guide to gender identity terminology here.

Crossdressers, drag kings, and drag queens are also included as fully-protected identities under the ordinance. Businesses that don’t respect and accommodate any of the 31 protected gender identities could face fines of up to $250,000.

New York’s list of gender identities is so progressive that it contains gender identity labels which didn’t even exist more than a few years ago. Go check your dictionary to see if it defines terms like ‘gender gifted’ or ‘gender blender.’

You can read the full list of newly-minted protected genders from the New York City Human Rights Commission here.

 

FPIW’s Zach Freeman to Appear on BBC Northern Ireland

 

FPIW Communications Director Zachary Freeman will appear tonight on Nolan LIVE, a late-night talk program on BBC One in Northern Ireland.  The live broadcast will take place at 10:45pm GMT (3:45pm PT).

If you aren’t able to watch the program live, you can catch the segment following the broadcast on the BBC, and on our Facebook page Thursday morning.

Zachary will join award-winning host Stephen Nolan for a discussion of transgenderism, and give some insight into the first episode of FPIW’s viral video series, College Kids Say the Darndest Things.