Parental Authority and Our Schools

Abigail Shrier in her book Irreversible Damage spends a chapter on the parents who are in pain and whose authority is being disregarded. Let me mention a few parents and their daughters. (Names have been changed by Shrier.)


Two Midwesterners, Shirley and her lesbian partner were raising an academically successful, physically energetic but socially challenged young girl. Shrier gives her the name of “Julie.” She had crushes on boys growing up, which was just fine with her two moms. Julie was a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at school, which her mothers took as a welcome sign of solidarity.

Julie had no history of gender dysphoria (the scientific literature unequivocally shows GD occurs mostly in boys and usually presents itself around the ages of 2-4. Little boys will say things like, “but no mommy, I’m not a boy, I’m a girl.” Natal Females almost never do this.) Julie didn’t either. Shirley said, “As far as I knew, she identified as straight. She was pretty girly and feminine.”

At the GSA she met a girl named Lauren, who introduced her to anime, computer-animated images of anthropomorphized creatures. “I had no idea it was tied into this whole trans culture,” said Shirley. Julie began to visit DeviantArt, a website where Trans folk hang out and gender ideology is discussed at length.

Julie loved ballet. And was good at it. She was on route to becoming a professional ballet dancer, “nabbing top roles in her dance company.” She landed the coveted part of Cinderella in the ballet by the same name. But, after “crushing” her performance and coming out onstage to take her bows and receive the high praises of the audience, Julie caught the eye of her closest friend, Lauren. Shirley describes what happened next, she “sort of looked like she was ashamed of herself and faded. All of her joy sucked out of her body.” Unbeknownst to Julie’s parents, Lauren had recently come out as “transgender.” Julie would soon follow.

"Gendered performances, such as occur in ballet, fly in the face of trans identification.  To transgender adolescents, gendered behavior that accords with one's sex is the ultimate blunder--it unmasks as frauds those who lack commitment, who are really just "cis"1"Cis" means on this side of gender, "trans" means on the other side after all.  - Irreversible Damage, Abigail Shrier

Like the culture of eating disorder patients who regard “thinness” as a virtue, and extremism in pursuit of the noble goal as a sign of personal integrity, transgenderism tracks the same disordered trajectory. There are pro-anorexia sites all over the social media internet preaching the purity of the pursuit. Same with the Online Trans world. It is an “Us” vs. “Them” division.

Julie’s parents wanted to be on the side of their daughter so they followed along too. And began using new names and pronouns, thinking maybe this was the right thing to do. But Julie was getting angrier and more distant and emotionally detached. So they stopped doing that.

Shrier then recounts what she described in an online interview as one of the most disappointing parts of this whole Trans story; in loco parentis (in place of the parent) has taken on a new meaning within many of our public & private schools.

Shirley met with the school administrators, who assured her that as long as Julie was at their all-girls’ school, they would treat her as a girl and use her given name and female pronouns. “Well, that’s not what happened.” Without her mothers’ knowledge or permission, Julie’s teachers, administrators, and friends all acceded to Julie’s request and began referring to her as a male student and by her new male name. Julie began to lead a kind of double life. “When she was too much at school, too much at her computer, she became morose, withdrawn, angry. We had no idea she was indoctrinating herself with these YouTube videos.” - Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier

But the die was cast. And it seemed like most were playing along. Even dance company choreographers:

At eighteen, Julie moved out of the house, signed up for Medicaid—although she was still on her mothers’ insurance—and began a course of testosterone. Julie found a local dance company that would permit her to train as a male. But she wasn’t strong enough, Shirley told me. “From what I understand, the choreographer had to rechoreograph it three times because she couldn’t keep up [as a man]…. She dropped a couple of dancers.” Her mother was frightened that Julie’s apparent fixation was going to hurt her or someone else. She reprimanded her, “It’s not just your body and your career. You’re talking about someone else’s body and their career. You’re going to hurt them.” But by then, Julie was done taking advice from her mothers. She abruptly cut off contact with them. She has hundreds of followers on Instagram; her mothers are blocked from viewing her account. “We have someone who’s been able to snoop in on her [Instagram]… I saw the picture of her, right after her mastectomy, lying in the hospital bed, talking about how this is the best day of her life, tears of joy, this kind of thing, and four hundred of her cheerleaders saying, ‘Yay,’ ‘Awesome job,’ ‘We’re so proud of you,’ ‘You can do this.’ You know—the usual.” - Irreversible Damage, Abigail Shrier

Instead of standing in place of the parents, and representing the parents wishes for the children in their charge, schools are disregarding parental concerns. They go around parents and often kids like Julie become more and more distant from the ones who love them most. Parents who don’t affirm are regarded as “toxic.” This “toxicity” charge will be leveled not just by the legions of Internet Trans Influencers but by school teachers and administrators. I’ll go into more detail about that in a minute, but first another story.



Her father an Indian immigrant and physician and her mother a software engineer came, as all do, for the abundant opportunities of American life. Once again, Gayatri showed no signs of childhood gender dysphoria. She was born with a minor neurological disorder affecting her motor skills, and as a result, by the time puberty hit, more than the usual awkwardness followed. In middle school one of her elementary school friends came out as Trans and began “transitioning” by binding her breasts and announcing her new male name, and asking others to use her new male pronouns.

In ninth grade Gayatri was given a laptop and after much pleading a smartphone. She spent a lot of time on Tumblr and DeviantArt (mentioned earlier). Every free moment she spent online. But since both her parents were comfortable with technology and the Internet, nothing up to this point concerned them.

In the second half of her freshman year, one of her teachers nominated her for a leadership retreat, and her parents were thrilled, eagerly paying the fee. “I always had great appreciation and respect for all the institutions in the United States, starting with the government, and the federal nature of everything, the school districts being independent and all that,” her father said. He examined the flyer for the retreat, believing his daughter had been recognized for a special honor. The flyer contained “all positive things” about leadership and social justice, which sounded like a good thing. “I trusted the school completely.” At the end of the weekend-long retreat, the students performed a play for the parents. “The whole play focused on sexuality and gender,” Gayatri’s mother told me. “It was all about these depressed kids with no motivation.” Each kid stood up and introduced themselves with some alleged hardship identity—“I’m depressed,” “I’m gay.” Then, Gayatri stood up. “ ‘I’m transgender, and I go by they/them.’ We were like in tears, we didn’t know what to do,” her mother said. After the camp, Gayatri discarded all of her girls’ clothes and set up an Instagram account announcing her new name. One day, while she was walking the dog with her parents, Gayatri floated the idea of starting testosterone and getting top surgery. Her parents became alarmed. By then, they had learned that Gayatri’s school had been using her “new name” and pronouns (though never on any documentation sent home) entirely without their knowledge. No longer merely the class bungler, Gayatri had reinvented herself as the edgy trans kid. The “likes” and emojis showered on her Instagram profile spoke for themselves: this new identity was an upgrade. As a “trans boy,” Gayatri had friends—lots of them. [emphasis mine] - Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier

If you ever wonder why so many parents have become deeply disillusioned with the state of public education in America, this might now be exhibit A.

Schools are being coached by Activists to protect the privacy of the student who identifies as Transgender, even if this means keeping the parents in the dark.

According to Transgender Activists, the starting point is the conviction that,

Privacy and confidentiality are critically important for transgender students who do not have supportive families. In those situations, even inadvertent disclosures could put the student in a potentially dangerous situation at home, so it is important to have a plan in place to help avoid any mistakes or slip-ups. - Human Rights Campaign "Schools In Transition" pg 16

An entire chapter (5) in HRC’s “Schools in Transition” is devoted to “Unsupportive Parents or Caregivers.” But what about those many parents who truly love their children and sincerely believe that transitioning is the worst thing for them. What about those parents who want to assist with a course of therapy (and prayer) that doesn’t include the advice of the “affirmative care model”? What if they believe helping their child align with their birth sex is a better pathway to personal wholeness? What if they believe God created their children as male or female? Are these experts from the Human Rights Campaign and their supporters in our school systems the only experts to be consulted? Are you comfortable with these experts going around the backs of parents? Keeping them in the dark?

I’m not.

Here is a revealing quote in the HRC guidelines.

School officials interact with the student on a daily basis and focus on supporting the student’s growth and development, which gives school personnel unique insight into the student’s needs.

And parents don’t have unique insight into the student’s needs? More than school officials? For the Activists unless these parents adopt the affirm-only, puberty-blocking, sterilizing doctrine of pediatric medical transition they are at best misguided and at worst bigots.  Are you comfortable with that conclusion?

I’m not.

Maybe these parents possess wisdom gleaned from having raised these children from birth, wisdom these school experts and Transgender Activists don’t possess about these particular children. Maybe refusing to be cajoled into going against a parents deepest protective instincts should be respected by those payed to educate their children. Maybe agreeing to a never ending regimen of cross-hormone therapy and radical life altering surgeries is a bridge too far for most parents. Maybe these parents have done their own research and are convinced that the recent explosive growth of teen girls identifying as Trans is not real but evidence of social contagion.


Another model the “Policy on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” produced by the National Center for Transgender Equality and GLSEN includes the following guideline:

Staff or educators shall not disclose any information that may reveal a student’s gender identity to others, including parents or guardians... 

Unless absolutely required to do so by law. These guidelines give advice on how to use a student’s preferred name and pronouns in class, but the legal name and normal sex-specific pronouns in communication with parents. Rather than respect parental authority and adhere to the historic in loco parentis expectation, parents are being deceived and disregarded.


Many call for public education reform so that the money “follows the student” instead of going to designated school districts, some of which are failing academically, as well as failing to live up to the historic in loco parentis expectation. These reformers insist the 1964 Civil Right’s Act anti-discrimination guidelines will still be followed, guidelines which specifically reference “race, color, religion, national origin” and “sex” discrimination. Nobody wants to “turn back the clock” on those advances. Practical matters like transportation issues can be worked out. These reformers say, let the parents pick the schools on a rational geographic basis. If your local school is “preaching” a gender ideology that you as a parent disagree with, then you should have the flexibility to send your child elsewhere. Just like in Sweden, where the money follows the child. You are not locked into a particular school simply because of where you live. We need to allow parents creative choice solutions to a very real and for them disturbing trend in education.

I would personally support something like the Swedish education model without disregarding the religious “free exercise” clause in our Constitution. A clause which supports freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Otherwise, we would veer off into anti-religious bigotry. A very real concern these days.


Here is an interesting link about the Swedish Culture and Economy. We have been told that Swedish society is based on a socialist model. Well, that was then. 30 years ago. This is now. At around 33:43 into the video, they start talking about how the Swedes do public education. But you might want to watch the whole thing.


Some think this too extreme, which given the current state of public education in America, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to experiment with different solutions.

I know many public school educators. I have great respect for most of them. But, I’ve personally witnessed more than a few inadequate teachers, administrators and failing schools. So if you think American parents like the ones in the stories above will accept this new understanding of in loco parentis and simply roll with gender ideology, you might be mistaken. After the remote learning experience of last year & the unwillingness of schools to reopen many parents are deciding to pull the plug on the current local school option, if at all possible.

Obviously for most parents this is not feasible. But if the money followed the student they just might vote with their feet. And I wouldn’t blame them.

My next post will look at gender ideology propagated in our elementary schools.


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Justice Delayed, Justice Denied

This is a follow up on Dr. Randall, the U.K. Chaplain dismissed for telling the students under his charge that it was okay as Christians in a free society to respectfully disagree with LGBTQ+ teaching. No matter what you think of his viewpoint, this story should be disturbing to all who value religious freedom and freedom of expression.

For his views Randall was reported to the U.K. government’s terrorist watchdog, Prevent, as a potentially violent religious extremist and fired by the school, Trent College. In addition to that, the school also reported him to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) as a danger to children.  

He is suing the school for discrimination and unfair dismissal. You can read the details in my post entitled, A “Terror” Sermon? There is also a link in my post to the “extremist” sermon which got him sacked.

A story in the Daily Mail brings us up to date on the latest unfortunate development.

Dr. Randall’s employment tribunal hearing scheduled to be held on Jun 14 has been delayed until September 2022! Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is representing Dr Randall, said: ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ 

Dr. Randall

My Truth, Your Truth

If philosophical analysis is not quite "your cup of tea" as the Brits say, at least scroll down to the video below, take a look, and then come back to this.  Or not.  

Some people have been trained to make a virtue out of doubt. They ask questions like: Who can know? Who can tell? Who can judge? For that matter what can we know? These people will approach the question of Truth in a particular way.

If you believe in a supreme Creator who is trustworthy, incapable of deceit, and has been revealed to us in various ways, that is to say, a God who has not been silent, then you’re going to approach the subject of Truth differently.

See my post “But, I Love That Body” for additional detail about God’s knowable integrated creation. In the “Let’s Go Deeper” section of that fairly long post there is a relevant graph for you to think about.

Now let’s take these meditations right down the scale to the individual person. Harmony between our inner perceptions of the external world and the external world as it actually exists.22 How? Because our Trustworthy God created a world where the visible (the outer object) and invisible (our subjective ideas & impressions) can meet and know each other. Not exhaustively but truly.23

This quote above and the content of footnotes 22 & 23 touch on the “mind-body” problem I briefly introduced in my “Starting Again” post. In the post from last year, “But, I Love That Body,” I emphasized God’s intended creational harmony between, among other things, the mind and the body. God intends perfect alignment between our mind (soul) and body. The goal of human wholeness brings perfect alignment. Just like God intends perfect overlapping and interlocking alignment between Heaven and Earth. The central image here is marriage. (You’ll have to read my other posts discussing the Equal Dualism of God’s bi-natured world to get the bigger picture.)

God’s bi-natured creation was designed to be an integrated whole. Today’s gender ideologues argue against any divinely designed human integration and seek to “convert” biological fact so that it aligns with identity desires. The human desire to identify as a gender different than your biological sex takes precedent over God’s creational design. [Even if you are not a Christian you surely see the “conversion” logic at work here. See my last post and the section asking the question: “Who is the conversion therapist?”]. Of course, Christians know all of us humans have inordinate desires. But we don’t affirm those desires. We seek healing.

Now let’s look at the footnotes from the above paragraph. First reread the sentences where you find the footnotes.

Footnote 22 – “Philosophy students will recognize this addresses a long standing Epistemological puzzle.”

[Epistemology is the theory of knowledge, specifically addressing the questions; how do we know what we know? What are our methods for knowing, and what is the scope of possible knowledge?]

Footnote 23 – “For those of you interested in an important distinction, I subscribe to the biblical “hermeneutic of trust” and not the Postmodern “hermeneutic of suspicion.” God created an apprehensible world that may be known by persons created in God’s image and shared in common with other persons created in God’s image via a variety of communication methods, including texts. Again, not exhaustively, but truly. Our experiences as humans are not hermetically sealed and incommunicable to others. Or speaking more broadly, Gender, Ethnicity, Race & Culture do form patterns of experience which should be accounted for and respected, but in the Spirit of a Trustworthy Creator these boundaries may be lovingly crossed. I share the Postmodern critique of the pretensions of Enlightenment Modernity but if nothing can be taken on trust & everything is regarded with suspicion you have a philosophy that “eats its own tail.” Why should anyone trust a philosophy which says nothing can be trusted? Finally, I also share the excitement of Christians who believe the discoveries of Modern Physics, i.e. quantum theory, opens up new paths to explore theologically, for example, as it relates to genuine freedom in the Universe. And yet, we must refuse to worship at the altar of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. The words and deeds of a Trustworthy Creator argue otherwise.”

[The word “hermeneutic” in note 23 above is about our method of interpretation. In this case, the “hermeneutic of trust” is an interpretive method that extends trust to the “author” of a “text” (text could be any form of communication). We trust that authors are not consciously engaged in subterfuge designed to mask another intention which may be to exercise some level of control over us, the readers. Rather we believe that they are genuinely interested in discussing what is True. They may in fact not be trustworthy for various reasons. But we don’t assume that upfront. Unfortunately, the “hermeneutic of suspicion” suspects all communication is engaged in subterfuge. For appearances of texts are deceptive and explicit content hide deeper meanings or implications. The hermeneutic of suspicion draws its philosophical inspiration from the “masters of suspicion”, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche.]


I put these comments above in footnotes because I wasn’t sure many readers would be interested in this information. And you still might not be! I know if you haven’t studied these issues before, it can be more than slightly opaque. But let me briefly unpack most of footnote 23.

God created a knowable world. The pinnacle of God’s creation, God’s image bearers, are capable of apprehending that world as it truly exists and speaking meaningfully to one another about that world. Put very simply, all mentally healthy individuals know the difference between ‘up’ and ‘down’, for example, or ‘male’ and ‘female,’ at least they should once the terms are properly defined. I know, I know, at the Quantum or Sub-Atomic Level we find, we think, an element of randomness and unpredictability from which, in my opinion, many unwarranted philosophical conclusions are drawn. But I still have faith in a God who created a knowable world. Not exhaustively, but truly knowable. Mysterious at times. But that’s okay. Up here where we human’s live, communicable knowledge and real shared values are possible for God’s Image Bearers.

But today the postmodern “hermeneutic of suspicion” counsels you to interpret every communication with suspicion. There are hidden meanings and intentions underneath. Although philosophical skepticism is ancient, ironically doubt as a method got renewed emphasis in the Western world with the work of a Christian thinker by the name of Rene Descartes (1596-1650). In fairness to Descartes he was trying to develop a philosophical system to tackle the problem of doubt. He failed. But he did succeed in setting us on the philosophical road to human autonomy with the ultimate result being alienation, first and formost from God, but also the alienation of mind from body.

It’s a long story but it ends with the ruling assumption among many of our elites and the teachers of our future generations, that objective reality is finally unknowable and incommunicable. All we are left with are subjective interpretations of our world.

Subjectivism is the doctrine that “our own mental activity is the only unquestionable fact of our experience.” So as a practical matter, from Elementary school to our institutions of Higher Learning, our young people have been taught you have “your truth” and I have “my truth.” Radical Individualism is one expression of this worldview.

Also taught in our institutions of learning is a less radical worldview which says my group has its truth while your group has a different truth. The worldview animating many parts of the Anti-Racism movement taps into this less radical view of “group truth.” This view can lead one to understand the world as a never ending struggle of competing “interpretations” or “narratives.” To use the common coin of today, it is sometimes seen as a conflict pitting oppressors against oppressed (a dichotomy borrowed from Marxism). For example, Whites vs People of Color, Rich vs Poor, Male vs Female, Binary vs Non-Binary. Since it is assumed group truth is largely inaccessible to members of other groups, especially dominant groups, struggle for group supremacy is inevitable. Revolutionary actions are warranted for those who take a more Marxist view of the conflict. Critical Theory (1930’s) from which we get Critical Race Theory (1970’s, developed by Derrick Bell of Harvard and others) are two theories that draw nourishment from the seed beds planted by the “masters of suspicion” Marx, Freud and Nietzsche. Perhaps you may be somewhat familiar with these less radical worldviews. They’ve been “hangin’ round the house” lately in case you haven’t noticed.

The fundamental teaching is that all Truth is relative and either individuals or groups are the final authority regarding normative questions. There is no universally valid or normative Truth. Of course all Christians recognize, or at least we should, that Truth in some areas may be difficult to ascertain, therefore humility is advised, but this is not the same as saying any universal claims are illegitimate. But that is what our young people are being taught today. And it has real world consequences. [See the video at the end of this post.]


As a Christian, I believe there is a unifying center to reality and that center appeared in Jesus of Nazareth. It is a center that allows all who accept the Lordship of Christ to come together as God’s single family in the Temple of God, Christ’s Body, the Church. As Paul said:

For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.  As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.  And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise. [the promise of God's worldwide flourishing human community on earth.] - Gal 3:26-29 (NRSV)

Ideally, this family unit won’t be characterized by conflicting power relationships, but by mutual love one to another. Ideally this community will be characterized by patient receptivity not suspicion. We will “read” each other through the kind lens of charity, what I like to call the “hermeneutic of love.” But for this to work, we have to accept each other as family. Not groups pitted against one another. We won’t prejudge anyone based on skin color, for example, or any perceived social status. And, as a Christian, I would argue this community only becomes possible by the power of God’s Spirit. For it won’t be easy. And it cannot be coerced.

There is a single grand narrative, a single Truth. It is the story of a creative, loving, Triune God. And the outworking of God’s purposes from the beginning. Before anything was created, there was Loving Community. That’s our model. We all are part of that story.


Hopefully, after my musings above and viewing the video below you will see how today’s gender ideology draws “nourishment” from and grows out of the philosophical position known as subjectivism and its variant, group identity.

We can only know what we as individuals know, or less radically, what our group knows. Tolerance is regarded as the highest virtue by many, but not all, some remain intolerant revolutionaries. Those involved in Class Struggle or Race Struggle are typically not concerned with Tolerance of every group. Subjugation of perceived oppressors is an ethical imperative for them.

But for most people this perception of human limitations teaches them to be accepting of what others know and believe to be true. So as long as they are not hurting anyone with that belief, it is said, we should tolerate different perspectives.

Which leads me to a classic YouTube video filmed at the University of Washington.

Links from this blog to online resources don’t necessarily mean I support everything the organization producing these resources might believe. But this video is certainly on point about the “no lines, no boundaries” Western world our young people currently live in.

Our students did not learn this on their own. Adults taught them to think this way. You can certainly see how in a “no boundaries” world anxious, dissatisfied, depressed young people might feel at liberty to explore identity options, and in the process disfigure their bodies. Especially when so many of their online “friends” say this is the secret to personal happiness. And you can also see how a worldview like the one on display in this video would affirm any choice an individual makes. Likewise you can see how the many young leaders of Facebook would feel comfortable listing 56 gender options to accommodate the subjective truths of those holding this “no boundaries” worldview.

Tolerance is a fine virtue, still I hope you find this video troubling. Because tolerance of absurdity leads to ruin. There are real world consequences to a “fluid” worldview.

Is this the world we want to live in? We better come up with some answers quick. Things are moving swiftly.


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