Conservatives need to force radical educators into being honest about their perverse aims.
Not in My Name
Reasonable gays ought to disassociate themselves from the queer madness as quickly as possible.
There have been some allegations that the Right’s new favorite political insult, “OK groomer,” is insufficiently exact. A teacher who wants to tell third graders about gay sex isn’t necessarily saying he wants to have gay sex with third graders, after all. But actually the more I think about it, the more I think that—as slogans go—“OK groomer” is remarkably precise.
The Florida law which touched off this fight prevents teachers and third parties from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity “in Kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Third graders are nine. Talking to a nine-year-old who is not your child about the available varieties of sexual practice sounds like a reasonable thing to outlaw.
It also sounds like grooming, which means not only having sex with kids but also priming kids for sex. One much-discussed example of material “that is not age-appropriate” is Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir, the graphic novel which parents found on offer in a number of public school libraries. The book contains lurid depictions of gay oral sex. Just as importantly, though, the very notion that someone can be Gender Queer implies a whole framework of human sexual identity and desire, one in which biological boundaries are permeable and all consensual sex acts are equally commendable if equally pleasurable. At the very least, this is a contested view, one that children should not be conditioned to accept before their parents have a say in the matter.
So when activists keen with sorrow and rage about the new law, or teachers explain how they intend to evade parental objections and smuggle sex instruction into classrooms without parental knowledge, it actually does sound like they want to groom kids. “I don’t care what the government tells me to do,” said someone who described herself “as a preschool teacher, as a drag king, and as a member of the LGBTQ community.” Another woman, commenting on a New York Times article, wrote, “from the start, children are sexual beings.”
By calling these kinds of people groomers, we identify exactly what we despise about their behavior: not that they themselves have kinds of sex we dislike, but that they are priming children to conceive of themselves as gender fluid beings of limitless sexual potential, against their parents’ wishes. The retort will be that we only want this filth out of classrooms because the people teaching it are gay, or trans, or whatever. But in fact “OK groomer” makes those accusations absurd on their face, unless objecting to grooming means objecting to homosexuality per se.
Does it? Once upon a time it was the Right that equated being gay with pedophilia. Now conservatives have plainly distinguished between the two, and it is the grooming we are objecting to. In response the Left has effectively said: “you can’t attack grooming—that’s an assault on gay rights!” This strikes me as a catastrophe for regular old non-pedophile gay people.
Because here’s the thing: a non-zero number of Americans do still think that once homosexuality became socially acceptable, all manner of other sexual horrors were always bound to follow suit. And the alphabet people have now created a situation in which reasonable parents could be forgiven for thinking that, as it turns out, being gay does lead inexorably to taking a sick interest in other people’s kids.
My firm conviction is that homosexuality does not in fact entail by necessity the abolition of biological sex (quite the opposite). And it is the abolition of biological sex, not homosexuality, which necessitates programming children from birth to see the world as gender queer. Most parents, I think, want to be able to chart a course between leaving peaceable gay adults alone, and getting these freakazoids out of their kids’ classrooms.
But as Wokal Distance pointed out on Twitter, “If you leave people the choice of ‘either you let school guidance counselors send your child to a clinic for gender reassignment, or you are a homophobe,’ the answer will be ‘call me a homophobe.’” By demanding queerness everywhere, gender radicals have done more than any bigot ever could to associate homosexuality with all manner of evil and perversity.
By saying “OK groomer,” though, conservatives are offering gays a chance to distance themselves from this cancerous extremism, and we should take it. Any gay person with even a shred of reason ought to be making it absolutely clear that we have no interest in sharing a “community” with these crazed fanatics—that they are not our friends, that they do not represent our interests, and that we disavow the groomers with passionate conviction. As often and as loudly as possible, gays everywhere ought to be saying: “not in my name.”
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.