If you’re not the calendar type, here’s a tip to figure out when the month shifts from June to July: Things get a bit less prideful.
After Pride Month is over, your favorite multinational corporation shifts its logo back from a rainbow hue to status quo ante. The transgender flags come down. Your favorite snack food no longer sports a dye-laden Roy G. Biv makeover. And, if you have kids, the endless list of LGBT-themed books being pushed on you and your children by their teachers finally ends.
At one school in the Seattle area, however, Pride Month is hanging around a little longer than usual — all because of a grotesque choice of reading material.
According to KTTH-AM host Jason Rantz, Zeiger Elementary School in Puyallup, Washington, is under fire after it included a book that featured so-called “top surgery” — the removal of breast tissue from transgender-identifying females to make them look more masculine — in a display for Pride Month.
In a June 30 piece, Rantz said it “included art representing different gender identities, including pansexual and polysexual. It also displayed several LGBTQ-themed books.”
This included the usual fare. “Heather Has Two Mommies” — which is, at this point, the undisputed “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” of turgid, didactic LGBT children’s prose — was included. However, so was a book called “Felix Ever After.”
“The young adult novel tells the story of a 17-year-old Black, queer, and transgender teen who faces transphobia,” Rantz wrote. “The book’s cover shows the titular character in a tank top, showing off partial scars from so-called ‘top surgery.'”
While surgeons oft require a “top surgery” patient to be 18 years old, minors sometimes can find surgeons willing to do the procedure for minors with parental consent. This, apparently, represented a “successful” surgery — at least in terms of accomplishing its goal. This was the least of the problems involving “Felix Ever After,” however.
It was, according to Rantz, “a book with prolific drugs, sex, and vulgarity” — all of that on top of a controversial surgical procedure being performed on a minor and which was portrayed as liberating, not problematic. The book publisher does not recommend it for anyone under age 14. It was in an elementary school’s Pride Month display.
At a recent school board meeting, local activist Dawn Land went off against the inclusion of the book in the display, which she said was “sexualizing” young children.
“The F-word is present in this book 66 times in the first 90 pages, Land said. “Considering that a movie that [says] the F-word more than once is automatically rated R, this book should not be anywhere near any school in this district.”
Land noted that she wasn’t planning to speak at the school board meeting, given she was a homeschooling mom and her children didn’t attend. However, she said “a large percentage of teachers and parents are against the gender confusion, sexualizing propaganda display at Zeiger Elementary and other schools, but they were all afraid to come and speak here.
“I am here to speak out against this school district, daring to work against the cultures and morals of the diverse families in our schools. These children are not your children.”
According to Rantz, Land showed him “a letter purportedly from the concerned staff at Zeiger. In it, a group of anonymous staff calls out the principal for being overzealous and unilateral in his Pride displays.” However, neither Rantz nor the staff members on his show could verify it.
But the district acknowledged the book was inappropriate.
“This book was inadvertently included in the Zeiger library display case in a hasten attempt to raise awareness and celebrate the LGBTQ community with staff and students,” district communications director Sarah Gillispie said in an email to KTTH.
“Our responsibility to promote age-appropriate learning materials was overshadowed in that attempt.”
Yes, one might say that. The school promised to prevent this from happening again.
“This book is not available in any of our elementary libraries, and a stricter process has been put in place to vet the methods in which we celebrate authors and stories for Zeiger students,” Gillispie wrote.
There are basic lessons one can learn from this — like, for instance, the fact that introducing kids between the ages of 5 and 11 to the concept of “top surgery” for transgender teens probably isn’t going to engender tolerance from parents.
Also, given the sensitivity that surrounds the topic, it would have been common sense for the vetting processes the district communications director promised to already be in place.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway, as Rantz noted, is that “this whole incident seems exploitative.”
“There is a desire to teach kids that gender is fluid — a position based on ideology, not science. This isn’t purely about trans issues but gender identity in general,” Rantz wrote. “The principal pushed this on a captive audience of children who may start believing the principal’s positions rather than rely on their own research once they’re old enough to understand it.
“Do I think a book display will push a child into surgery they’re too young for? No. But it could play a small part in pushing a kid into a life-altering decision at some point down the line.”
Perhaps the biggest takeaway should be this, however: The educators at Zeiger Elementary School thought they knew better than parents on how to educate their children about LGBT issues. They’re the ones who put very adult propaganda in front of young children without vetting it. And yet, I’m sure this doesn’t shake their confidence in their ability to make your progeny “tolerant.”
That should tell you all you need to know.
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