By all appearances, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is a throwback to a bygone era. Dubbed the “Christmas City,” each holiday season fills the small city with horse-and-buggy rides, a pop-up German Christmas market and a full Nativity scene flanked by a giant Christmas tree.
While the PC Grinches have yet to steal the town’s old-fashioned Christmas, a decidedly modern lawsuit has been filed against the Bethlehem Area School District.
The suit alleges that a 15-year-old female student who identifies as “non-binary” was “tormented and abused” when a school employee refused to use her chosen pronouns, LehighValleyLive.com reported Thursday.
According to the report, the lawsuit filed March 2 in U.S. District Court says the teenager, who suffers from gender dysphoria and prefers to be addressed by the pronouns “they, them and theirs,” was subject to “discrimination, transphobia and bigotry so severe and pervasive” that the program was wholly unfit for students who identify as non-binary.
What happened that was so horrific?
The student claims she was told by licensed counselor Randy Alan Herzon, “I am from a generation that does not believe in these pronouns,” and that he also told her parents, “She is setting herself up for a difficult life.”
The program she attended is run by the Colonial Intermediate Unit 20, where Herzon is employed. Intermediate units were set up by the Pennsylvania State Assembly in 1971 as a more efficient way to serve students with special needs. They assist students in districts within a certain geographical area so that each district isn’t duplicating costly specialized services.
The student resides in Northampton Area School District, but because the program she attended was at Freedom High School in the Bethlehem Area School District, which includes the city of Bethlehem and its surrounding areas, it was also named in the suit.
An internal investigation by the IU 20 did not reveal any insensitivity toward the student, according to attorney John E. Freund III, who represents both the BASD and IU 20.
If that is true, and nothing more harmful transpired with the girl, then Herzon did nothing wrong.
This case is part of an ever-growing problem where school personnel are disciplined for not affirming the gender identity of students. Peter Vlaming, a Virginia French teacher, tried to avoid the controversy by refusing to use pronouns altogether but still lost his job. Vlaming is currently suing for wrongful termination.
The student was receiving services from her local Intermediate Unit, which points to the fact that she is dealing with some type of special need. She deserves to be treated with extra care and compassion.
What passes for compassion these days is anything but, however. Instead of encouraging everyone to play along with the “non-binary” narrative, what Herzon told the girl’s parents is the truth: Her life will be difficult if she continues to be confirmed in her delusion.
This lawsuit further alleges that Herzon’s comments caused the girl to “commit self-harm” and “contemplate suicide,” which is tragic. But to home in on his comments as the catalyst might prevent those around her from addressing her broader psychological issues to her detriment.
A study conducted in Sweden concluded that even in that country, where social mores are more accepting of the issue, patients who undergo “gender confirmation surgery” still suffer a suicide rate 20 times higher than the rest of the population in the decade-plus afterward.
Still, many in the media are pushing the narrative that it is “dangerous” to express anything but total acceptance to someone suffering from gender confusion. Jazz Jennings, the star of TLC’s “I Am Jazz,” which follows the teen’s journey through the gender transition process, called it a “liberating experience of affirming your gender.”
Now that I’ve shared my wild surgery journey on @TLC, I want you all to share yours! If you’re trans and want to open up about the liberating experience of affirming your gender, comment your story below. Let’s start a thread!❤️#IAmJazz pic.twitter.com/nff4PXxfou
— Jazz Jennings (@JazzJennings__) January 30, 2019
Despite having the adulation of the media and fans for several years, Jennings’ parents have publicly expressed concern about the 19-year-old’s ongoing struggles with anxiety, depression and binge eating disorder, according to the Showbiz Cheat Sheet.
While it’s certainly possible that Jennings’ gender confusion hasn’t caused these issues, surgery and acceptance clearly aren’t a panacea, either.
Herzon rightly expressed that the whole issue surrounding pronouns is only a recent phenomenon. What was previously an innocuous type of word is yet another issue to be politicized, with even some presidential candidates resorting to stating their “preferred pronouns” on Twitter.
Matt Walsh at The Daily Wire illustrated the absurdity of using incorrect pronouns and the confusion that it causes:
Some personal news: my pronouns are “we/our/us.” Please restrict yourself to these words when discussing me. This of course will make it almost impossible to form intelligible sentences about me, and it violates the rules of grammar, but that’s your problem not mine, I mean ours
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) September 13, 2019
At the center of this whole issue, whether about the minutia of pronouns or the broader issue of gender identity, is a misunderstanding about what it fundamentally means to be human.
Despite many claims to the contrary, America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and in that biblical worldview is the understanding that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
Without a firm grounding in these principles, which follow both divine and natural law, a person can easily fall prey to the erroneous and illogical theory that gender is only a social construct. This false notion opens a Pandora’s box of destructive ideas that cause a disconnect between psychological perception and physical reality that no surgery or use of pronouns can reconcile.
Just as Pontius Pilate asked, “What is truth?” while speaking to Jesus who is truth, our modern society twists language and poisons minds to invent a new “truth” that is illogical and self-contradictory and therefore cannot survive unless dissenting voices are silenced.
The unfortunate consequence is that these bizarre ideas manifest in the real world with broken lives, especially if they are internalized by impressionable children.
The antidote to this man-made crisis is Christianity — not to cure this particular child, perhaps, but to return society to some semblance of sanity where this up-is-down worldview would rightly wither and die.
Instead, the adults in this teen’s life up until now were unable or unwilling to help her work through her faulty notions, and have instead chosen to file a lawsuit because one adult gave her parents a kernel of earnest advice.
Regardless of how the lawsuit is eventually resolved, the fact remains that a 15-year-old is deeply troubled and everyone surrounding her is more concerned with protecting the narrative than truly helping her.
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