Parents, stand aside please. Mr. Eggen knows what is best for your kids
As we wait breathless to learn the names of the 300 people Education Minister David Eggen has appointed to teach us backward Albertans a revolutionary new way of thinking, it may be useful to examine the way the minister himself does his thinking. This becomes highly evident in the way he handled several recent issues, one in particular.
In an open letter he sent to the public school children of Alberta last August, he showed them a way they could defy their parents or teachers on the question of their starting or joining the new sex clubs that have been authorized by his department. (I know the government prefers to call them “LGBTQ” clubs, but if lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer aren’t about sex, what are they about? So yes, Alberta Education is — to use its own word — “promoting” sex clubs in our schools.)
But the minister has taken it much farther than this. He wants to be known to every student in the province that he is the personal champion of these clubs. Here’s how he explains it to the students on his FaceBook page:
As Minister of Education, I have been working with your school boards to make sure that our schools are welcoming and caring. All boards have created new policies to support LGBTQ students and they will now come to life in your schools. In the coming weeks, Alberta Education will be promoting new resources to make sure that schools are safe and welcoming. You can also reach out directly to my staff, who can help you ensure your rights are being respected, at email@example.com. As we stand together, let’s embrace the differences in one another. We will all be better for it in the long run. And remember: I’m with you one hundred per cent.
Now read the following from an article in the fall edition last year of the New Atlantis Journal, written by two world-renowned doctors from Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer and Dr. Paul R. McHugh:
The hypothesis that gender is an innate, fixed property of human beings — the idea that people are born that way — is not supported by scientific evidence. Compared to heterosexuals, non-heterosexuals are about two to three times as likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse. “Gay”-identified people are at an elevated risk for a variety of adverse health and mental health outcomes. They experience nearly 2.5 times the risk of suicide. The hypothesis that gender is an innate, fixed property of human being that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be a man trapped in a woman’s body or a woman trapped in a man’s body — is not supported by scientific evidence. Sex-reassigned individuals are about five times more likely to attempt suicide, and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide. The rate of lifetime suicide attempts across all ages of transgender individuals is estimated at 41 percent, compared to under 5 per cent in the overall U.S. population. Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.
The doctors conclude:
Yet despite this scientific uncertainty, drastic interventions are prescribed and delivered to patients identifying or identified as transgender. This is especially troubling when the people receiving these interventions are children… many prepubescent children, some as young as six… We are deeply alarmed that these therapies, treatments and surgeries seem disproportionate to the severity of the distress being experienced by these young people, and are at any rate premature since the majority will not continue to so identify as adults.
Suppose now that some precocious 13-year-old girl, having read the literature distributed by the provincial government, comes home and informs her parents that she is a boy trapped in a girl’s body and has joined the sex club. Her parents forbid this and tell her to leave the club forthwith. The club members tell her to email her champion, the education minister. She does so and some sort of social worker appears at the home. The parents refuse to listen to this woman. They ask her to leave. Do tell us, Mr. Eggen, what happens next? Are you going to have the child moved into foster care? Will the parents be charged — possibly jailed — for refusing to let their daughter join one of your sex clubs? Is this the kind of thinking your new curriculum seeks to bestow upon the new generation of Albertans?
In the meantime, what about this child? Are you still her great champion against her parents? You will be with her one hundred per cent, you say — one hundred per cent of her way to the graveyard, if doctors Mayer and McHugh happen to be right.
Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century. a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The Christians.com, a web journal. He has recently authored two little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters and The Revolution Nobody Covered. You can order both copies here.