Guest editorial: Parents have the right to control the upbringing of their children | ParkRecord.com
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Guest editorial: Parents have the right to control the upbringing of their children

Allison Cook
Park City

Over the past several months, I have written several letters to The Park Record. In those letters I have supported the rights of other community members to express opinions with which I do and don’t agree. Some have called me bigoted, homophobic, transphobic, dangerous and a bad parent. Others have called me brave and heroic for supporting a dissenting viewpoint without anonymity. I chose to speak out because I am an American who believes individual freedoms, liberties and the First Amendment need to be protected at all costs.

It has been an enlightening experience. I have been contacted by several dozen fellow Parkites in recent months who have shared stories and concerns anonymously and asked me to “advocate” for them. Some are other LGBTQ families who oppose the Welcoming Schools program. One family’s story resonated and will perhaps enlighten others.

“Why are LGBTQ lumped into one alphabet soup acronym?” she pondered. Why, indeed? In many cases the concerns of the LGB community and the TQ community are at odds. LGB refers to sexual orientation while TQ generally involves gender identity. She expressed a sentiment echoed by many outspoken LGB activists. Andrew Sullivan, a gay man and LGB activist, writes about “fast-track” transitioning in Intelligencer: “The vast majority (studies range from 63 to 94 percent) of gender dysphoric kids turn out to be gay after puberty. So how can you tell which gender-dysphoric kid is gay and just needs to be left alone, and which one is trans and needs urgent treatment? Since the brain doesn’t fully develop until you’re 25, how do we ever truly know who’s really trans and who’s gay before then?”

Many parents of LGB children have been told their children are transgender, and the pressure to transition can be intense. “Do you want a happy son or a dead daughter?” is a common question posed to parents by “well-intentioned” educators and medical providers. How terrifying is that? As parents, we feel we know our kids better than those educators who have been directed by the HRC’s Welcoming Schools program to cut parents out of the gender identity equation and “support students on their gender journey even if they do not have affirming family.” The Supreme Court has found that parents have a fundamental right to control the upbringing and education of their children. Why would the school board implement and spend taxpayer dollars defending a program that is clearly in defiance of this ruling?

In this mother’s case, her daughter suddenly came out as trans in her early teens. It turns out that 15% of the girls at her daughter’s school identified as trans or non-binary — many times higher than the national average! Because of its Welcoming Schools training, the school had been affirming her daughter’s new gender without the mother’s consent. She could not find a therapist in their home state to do anything but affirm her child. Finally, after consulting several therapists, one advised her “off the record” to move her child to a different state if that was an option. The family moved to their vacation home here full-time where her daughter received the care she needed and was removed from the “affirming” group of fellow students, teachers and health care professionals. Today her daughter is a well-adjusted woman in her mid-teens who happily identifies as a lesbian.

This mother, like others with similar experiences, are afraid to “come out” with their stories. They have seen people like me labeled as transphobic and dangerous. They are afraid they will be called bad parents and accused of child abuse. We wonder why families who have chosen to transition their children socially and/or medically and share their stories are heralded as brave while our stories are labeled as fear-mongering and transphobic.

“Why am I afraid to share my story publicly?” she asks. “Just read the paper.”


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