Most disturbing, however, is that such legislation will cause struggles in the development of a healthy sense of gender in the vast majority of young people. Due to the flexible language employed, anything that looks remotely like gender stereotyping will run afoul of this law In other words, anything that says, “boys should do X” or “girls should do Y” will certainly be considered to “reflect adversely” on children with any gender identity confusion.
Most young people have questions about how to express their gender. What does it mean to be a man? What should a good woman do? These are questions with which all young people must grapple, and they are entitled to have some substantial guidance from adults. For far too long, we’ve been avoiding these questions out of fear of offending feminist sensibilities. With this new law, California school teachers and school boards will have to fear the gay lobby, as well as the feminist establishment.
Ample evidence exists to suggest that men and women react different to everything from cohabitation, to infertility, to child-bearing. The path on which we travail with such laws leaves children to discover these critical differences in unfortunate, and often very painful, ways. Such a law limits the fruitful discussion that would benefit the majority of children in order to protect the feelings of the handful of children who might have same sex attractions.
I seriously doubt that the psyches of California gays and lesbians are so fragile that their well-being depends on protecting school children from hearing the words “mother and father.” I don’t believe the vast majority of sensible gay people in California think they need this policy. Moreover, any children who are actually suffering can be helped through the far less intrusive means that are already available.
Sheila Kuehl has given the state of California the power to control what it means to be male and female with this new bill, and Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed this thinly-disguised thought-control bill into law. This is clearly far too much power for any public agency to bestow upon itself.
But there is hope that they may have overreached themselves. California citizens, uncomfortable with the prospect of the government controlling the thoughts of their children, are organizing a referendum to repeal this law. Other states would be wise to keep careful watch as well: If this power grab is established in California, it may be coming to a school near you.
– Jennifer Roback Morse is the author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up World.