“I don’t think it’s right for anyone to tell my little child that it’s okay for brother to wear 10,000 dresses”

“I don’t think it’s right for anyone to tell my little child that it’s okay for brother to wear 10,000 dresses”

April 22, 2010

We were honored to learn that Marcus Ewert and Rex Ray’s illustrated children’s book, 10,000 Dresses, was recently recommended by the organization Alameda C.A.R.E. — or “Community Alliance Resource for Education,” a group which provides support and legal advocacy for LGBT children in the Alameda school district — for inclusion in the anti-bullying curriculum required for all K-5 students in Alameda schools. And we are further honored, in a queasier sort of way, to learn that the Pacific Justice Institute — which, in Ed Meese’s estimation, “fills a critical need on the West Coast for those whose civil liberties are threatened” — has decided that Ewert and Ray’s work is harmful those same K-5 students that C.A.R.E. wants to protect, and apparently many people in the Alameda community have decided to agree.

10,000 Dresses is supposed to be harmful? Yes, says the PJI; let us count the ways:

Children will learn that parents and siblings don’t care about their feelings or want to try to understand them,

Obviously parents and siblings who say things like “Get out of here before I kick you,” as Bailey’s brother in 10,000 Dresses says, do not care about the feelings of their kids, nor do they want to try to understand them. Unless the PJI is saying that this is what caring and understanding means when transgendered behavior is involved?

that they can chose whether to be called “he” or “she,”

Why exactly not?

and that their interests define whether they are a girl or a boy.

Why exactly not?

Children will learn that parents and siblings are physically and emotionally distant, and they tell you to “go away.”

What if a kid in Alameda’s parents and siblings are physically and emotionally distant and tell the kid to “go away?” Do they just not get to have a book written about them, for fear of harming the community?

They will learn that going to your bedroom or to a stranger’s house is the solution to an unsympathetic family.

What is the solution to an unsympathetic family, then? To take abuse and feel miserable?

… All of the above books conflict with Board Policy 6144: they show only one side of a controversial issue. Instead of explaining that “transgender” behavior requires treatment and is categorized as Gender Identity Disorder in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, the first two books promote “transgender” behavior. The chances of these children being helped decreases if they are affirmed at school.

And yes, this is true: “transgender” behavior is categorized as “gender identity disorder” in the DSM-IV. However, in order for transgendered behavior in children to be treated as a mental disorder, this criterion must be met:

D. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

In other words, gender identity disorder is a disorder precisely because it makes kids have a bad time in school. If the world does not make your life hellish because of transgendered behavior, then said behavior is no longer a disorder, according to the DSM-IV.

So maybe the best way to provide “treatment,” or to ensure that these children are “helped,” is to focus on the cause of that hellish time! Possibly this can be done by explaining LGBT issues to potential bullies in order to discourage them from beating up boys for wearing dresses. If no one in the Alameda school district, teachers, students, or parents, finds “transgender” behavior to be a problem, then surprise: it isn’t a problem, according to “scientific facts”! And what would be wrong with that, PJI? Was that not the “help” you had in mind for these kids?

Who exactly is the PJI trying to protect here? The bullies, or the victims of bullies?

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