Authored by Brad Jones via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
A revolt against government policies that many say usurp parental authority is spreading across the nation—especially in blue states where lawmakers have promoted transgender ideology and "gender-affirming care"—according to parents, attorneys, and teachers.
For more than a year, California parents have shown up in droves at legislative hearings and phoned in by the hundreds to protest policies that encourage schools to keep social gender transitions of children secret. Teachers also have begun to refuse to hide information about a child's gender identity from parents.
Meanwhile, Democratic members of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus have spearheaded legislation supporting so-called gender-affirming care, especially for children, touting it as a “first-in-the-nation” model.
Parental rights groups such as Our Duty have pushed back against the model, while groups such as Planned Parenthood, Equality California, and others support it.
California school districts claim that they’re required by law to keep gender transitions secret from parents unless a child wants to tell his or her parents. But recent court rulings tell a different story.
A federal judge on Sept. 14 blocked California's Escondido Union School District from punishing two teachers who refused to comply with guidance issued by the California Department of Education that encourages educators to keep gender transitions of students secret from their parents.
Judge Roger T. Benitez granted a preliminary injunction (pdf) against the state and the Escondido Union School District stating the policy is unconstitutional.
The teachers, Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West, claimed the state and district violated their constitutional and religious rights. They were both placed on paid administrative leave after their lawsuit was filed in April but are negotiating with the district to get back to work in the classroom.
The teachers told The Epoch Times that gender transitions among girls at their middle school are a “social experiment” that has become a social contagion.
When the girls go to the school counselors they get "so much praise and affirming” and are celebrated as “brave” and “honest,” Ms. West said.
“It’s only girls at our school. They eat it up. They get so much attention. They see one kid gets this, and they kind of follow along. It’s infecting them. It’s spreading.”
Until recently, it was rare to have even one child identify as transgender, but it's becoming much more common, Ms. West said.
“I had seven girls in one class that wanted to be trans all of a sudden,” she said.
Ms. Mirabelli said gender transitions are “trending” in California public schools.
“Schools are now the social engineer,” she said. “They’re socially transitioning children, and as they move through the social transition, the next level is, of course, the medical transition.
“We can’t just stand by while all this is going on.
“I had a trans kid in my class. This kid was a fantastic student, one of my favorites—worked hard, good grades, well-behaved. We had a great relationship. I knew that little girl was not a boy, and in the not-too-distant future she looked in the mirror and said, ‘Hey, I’m pretty. Wait a minute.”
Ms. Mirabelli said she wants no part of putting children on a “conveyor belt” toward puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and eventually surgical transitions that they might regret later in life.
“These kids are 10, 11, and 12 years old. They’re in the throes of adolescence. We’ve been teaching adolescent children for decades. We’ve seen it all. We know that they go through a lot,” she said.
To get to the bottom of why gender transitions are trending, she said, “Follow the money.”
The so-called sex reassignment surgery market reached $2.1 billion last year in the United States and is expected to more than double to $5 billion by 2030, according to a 2022 report by business consulting firm Grand View Research. More research released by Acute Market Reports indicates that North America holds at least half of the global market share for so-called sex reassignment surgeries.
According to the Gender Mapping Project, there were only “a handful” of gender clinics for children operating in North America a decade ago, but there are now more than 400 involved in what has become a multibillion-dollar industry, even as parts of Europe move away from the “affirmative care” model.
Paul Jonna, a Thomas More Society attorney representing the teachers, told The Epoch Times that the ruling in favor of the teachers is significant.
“This ruling could really set the framework for how this issue should be analyzed, not just in California, but everywhere,” he said.
The state issued “very misleading” guidance in the form of an FAQ page to every school district in the state asserting that parental exclusion is required by California law under privacy rights for children and that it was required to keep students safe, he said.
“They said it was nonbinding guidance, but they used words like ‘required’ and ‘must,’ and basically every school district interpreted it as binding,” Mr. Jonna said. “The [district] was convinced it was binding and said so at the hearing ... but in fact, this was not mandatory.”
The judge, he said, was deeply troubled over inconsistent positions that the state has taken and grilled state attorneys in the four-hour hearing on whether the policy was backed by law.
“So, which is it?” the judge asked, according to the court transcript. “Is the FAQ binding on the school district or not?”
Eventually, state attorneys agreed that the policy isn't binding and doesn’t compel school districts to enact the rule.
“The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition,” Judge Benitez said, quoting the 1979 Supreme Court case Parham v. J.R.
He added: “Isn’t that precisely what your rules does? ... It basically says that all parents are presumed to be the enemy if the child simply says, ‘I don’t want my parents to know.’”
The judge asked why parents, who are ultimately legally responsible for the care and nurturing of their children, are “cut out.”
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