You know the famous quote attributed to Maya Angelou, "When a person shows you who they are, believe them." Turns out, it applies to politics and politicians, too. This week, two California lawmakers got into a Twitter spat over gender identity legislation and the role of parents—those pesky people in charge of their children—and what one of them said really demonstrated his character and beliefs.
On Monday, state Senator Scott Wiener (CA-11), a Democrat representing San Francisco, “A DeSantis-style bill was just introduced in CA to require teachers/counselors to inform parents if a kid id's as a gender not on birth certificate. Even if the kid isn't ready to come out to their parents. Even if ratting the kid out risks violence at home. Nope, not in CA.”
The relationship between parent and child is important; trust is vital. This politician apparently has no problem helping schools keep secrets from parents and using the law to do it.
Unfortunately, Wiener had become outraged and gotten his facts wrong. The author of the bill he was referring to tweeted later in the thread and explained the legislation for all on Twitter to see.
Bill Essayli, (CA-63), a Republican representative representing the Sacramento area explained his legislation.
“I just introduced a bill #AB1314 which will require schools to notify parents when a student is actively identifying by a different gender. Unfortunately, this bill is necessary because schools are instructing teachers to conceal this information from parents.
“Children are the domain of their parents, not the government. Schools cannot decide what information should or shouldn't be shared with parents. Trans minors are higher risk for depression and suicide. More than 50% of trans minors have considered suicide.”
Essayli even clarified that this would only apply if a child had already publicly begun to identify as a different gender so there was no "outing," a child.
The idea that one can change one's gender is a new contagion that has caught on among a small but growing sliver of today's youth. California has already made the determination that child sex change is valid, as does Essayli’s bill. But the bill wants parents to be informed. For Wiener, parental involvement is not acceptable. Essayli's bill aims at landing where the issue has already manifested most and that is in schools.
The goal of the bill is to encourage communication between kids, families, and school systems, so that schools are not used as a wedge between parents and kids on an issue that is already fraught with controversy, emotion, and frustration. What kind of person would not want to encourage such a discussion? It's unfortunate that any lawmaker would oppose such a bill.
When San Francisco journalist Erica Sandberg asked Senator Wiener via Twitter if he was a parent, Wiener shot back defensively:
“And the ‘are you a parent’ line is pretty dismissive, Erica. I understand very well the ramifications of a teacher being forced to tell parents about a kid's sexual orientation or gender identity before the kid is ready. It's harmful, which is why it's being pushed by the right.”
As this wasn't exactly what the bill was about, it's clear Wiener's outrage was over blown but it was revealing: Schools do sometimes become a wedge between parents and their kids. Parents and lawmakers are right to be concerned about it.
In 2020, several parents sued the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin over the district's secretive transgender policy which let teachers hide children's gender identity issues from their parents and encouraged teachers to affirm the children's chosen identities at school. The case is still in litigation.
Some teachers willingly participate in the charade between school and child on their own. In Pennsylvania last year, three parents filed a federal lawsuit against the Mount Lebanon School District alleging that their children's first grade teacher and school administrators violated their rights and state law, by teaching their children about "gender dysphoria and transgender transitioning" without listing it as classroom curriculum online as required.
Essayli's bill to protect communication between parents, families, and schools is not without cause. It's well-intentioned and sound. The fact that Wiener vehemently opposes it demonstrates that he does not believe parents should have ultimate authority over their kids but that, in some cases, the state should intervene. This is wrong and harmful to families and society.
Democrats don't really want to protect kids. If they did, they'd involve their own families. Democrats want to use divisive issues like gender fluidity in school systems to separate children and their families, to divide them, and thus make children more vulnerable to their influence.
The relationship between parent and child must remain intact. It's good for children and good for society.