On Monday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a complaint in San Bernadino Superior Court seeking to enjoin the Chino Valley Unified School District’s policy of reporting children’s requests to change their name, pronouns, sex, or gender, to their parents.
The filing, which comes on the heels of a state Department of Justice investigation into the school district, alleges that the district’s policy discriminates against “transgender and gender nonconforming students on the basis of their gender identity and expression by singling them out for unfavorable treatment.”
Bonta’s case will be familiar to readers who have followed progressives’ attempted disruptions of the parent-child relationship. He argues that by “outing” transgender-identifying children to their “non-affirming” parents, the Chino Valley Unified School District is subjecting those children to potential “harm,” and presenting those students with a Faustian choice:
either “walk back” their constitutionally and statutorily protected rights to gender identity and gender expression, or face the risk of emotional, physical, and psychological harm from non-affirming or unaccepting parents or guardians.
The use of the word “harm” is deliberate, of course, and is intended to evoke in the reader’s mind a connection between “non-affirmation” and child abuse. Bonta argues, to that point, that it is the school district’s obligation to “protect” those transgender-identifying children from their skeptical parents, since, if they don’t, some of those children might commit suicide. He affirmatively cites one teacher’s claim that the district’s policy “will kill somebody” as evidence of the policy’s potential consequences.
This is moral blackmail, but it is a form of blackmail that, from a progressive perspective, has been increasingly successful in courts around the country. This month in Massachusetts, for example, the commonwealth’s Department of Children and Families denied what it described as a “lovely” Catholic couple the ability to adopt a child on the grounds that the couple “would not be affirming to a child who identified as LGBTQIA.”
The lynchpin of both the Massachusetts and California cases is the astronomical suicide rates of gay- and transgender-identifying children, and the conceit that exposing those children to parental disagreement or rejection might inspire them to kill themselves. And while you might think that a child with such a hair-trigger willingness to commit suicide has problems larger than his parents’ opinions on transgenderism, Bonta dismisses that possibility out of hand.
Bonta asserts, as if it were self-evident, that transgenderism is “not a mental illness,” and cites one school board member’s claim to the contrary as evidence that the school district harbors invidious opinions about transgender-identifying children. The fact that 86 percent (!) of all transgender-identifying children consider suicide, he says, has nothing to do with mental illness, but is caused by “discrimination.” The same people who tell us that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of are very quick to insist that only a bigot would believe that boys who think they are girls might have some psychological issues.
Get weekly emails in your inbox
The purpose of this case is clear: to lay the foundation for eventually taking your child away from you, the same way the state would take a child from an abuser. The legal merits are less so. Bonta claims that, by telling parents about their children’s beliefs, the Chino Valley school district is “discriminating” against transgender-identifying children in violation of the state’s constitution and related education statutes.
But what does “discrimination” mean in this context? What does it even mean to be a “transgender person”? Presumably, a male student who, in his heart of hearts, did not believe himself to be a woman, but claimed, for some reason, to be one, would have his claim reported to his parents just the same as a “bona fide” transgender student who claimed as much. Even by the logic of the lawsuit, the reporting policy wouldn’t be triggered by a person’s status alone, but by his profession of a demonstrably false belief. Wouldn’t we tell a child’s parents if he started insisting that he was seven feet tall, or that he was the president of the United States?
Given the venue, the attorney general’s case will likely succeed, and the district’s policy will be enjoined. Teachers, peers, and school officials will know that a child changed his identity, and parents will be left in the dark. That result will be a loss and will lay the groundwork for the left’s inevitable push not only to deprive you of your child’s medical records but of your child, period. The question isn’t if, but when.