Monday, September 18, 2017

Labelled bigots for protecting our child's innocence: Upset by their son's confusion when a six-year-old classmate changed gender, they took him out of school. Little did they know the hatred it would unleash

To witness the vilification of Christian parents Nigel and Sally Rowe this week, you’d have thought they’d not just broken each and every one of the Ten Commandments but hurled Moses’ stone tablet from the silenced bell tower of Big Ben as well.

Take the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show, during which their religious ideals were said to be ‘as extremist as people like ISIS’. Or This Morning’s Phillip Schofield, who hectored them: ‘You are the ones with the problem.’

Their problem? To voice concern about their six-year-old son’s ‘confusion’ when a classmate began turning up to his Church of England primary school asking to be treated as a girl one day and a boy the next, which flew in the face of the family’s Christian beliefs.

The school responded with a letter defending its approach on pupils ‘exploring their gender’ and warning how ‘incredibly seriously’ it would take any ‘transphobic behaviour’, such as the failure ‘to use [the pupil’s] adopted name or using gender inappropriate pronouns’.

Given their son is at an age when he hasn’t yet mastered joined-up writing, let alone the politics of personal pronouns, the Rowes, who also have a son aged eight, were horrified.

They have since removed him from his school on the Isle of Wight and are now bringing a legal challenge in the hope that guidelines — that require schools to accept the wishes of children and their families regarding gender identity, and which are being rolled out in schools the length and breadth of Britain — will be open to public scrutiny.

‘My son still believes in Father Christmas. He is six years old. It’s an age of beautiful naivety,’ says Sally, 42, a housewife and part-time teaching assistant.

‘They should be exploring nature, playing ball on the beach, skateboarding — doing the things boys do. You think: “Why can’t they just let children be children?”

‘Imagine going into school at six without knowing whether the boy sitting next to you is going to be Johnny or Julie today. Then having to treat them like a girl if they’ve decided they’re a girl — or a boy if they’ve decided that today they’re going to be Johnny.

‘This transgender agenda is almost like a trendy thing that’s infiltrating schools, and if you don’t subscribe to it you are a bully. The hatred we’ve received is . . . is . . . ’

Sally is in tears now. She stops. Collects herself. ‘This is painful for us, really painful,’ she says. ‘We’ve been so churned up. This is our community, our friends and now . . . now . . . ’

‘Now’ Sally’s phone pings with nasty texts, while Nigel, who runs his own plumbing company after giving up his job as an aerospace engineer, has received numerous vitriolic phone calls and emails. He looks as if he’s barely slept a wink in the week since announcing their legal challenge.

These are not hard-hearted bigots. Indeed, they only took this stand after a great deal of soul-searching, for each of them was deeply involved in the community and the school. So much so that they took part in a school assembly each week and helped with reading classes.

Indeed, when a boy in their elder son’s class announced in a Show and Tell lesson two years ago that she had decided to be a girl and wanted to be addressed by a girl’s name, the Rowes, owing to their close friendship with the child’s parents, resolved to live and let live.

This time, however, they felt the situation was asking too much of very young children. ‘This boy in our youngest son’s class, who’s six at the moment, decides one day to be a girl and the next to be a boy,’ says Nigel, 46.

‘One night I was putting the boys to bed, reading them a bedtime story and having a little chat as we do every night, when my son said, “Daddy I’m confused. How can — let’s call him Peter — be a boy one day and a girl the next?” It was really upsetting him. At least if the child was a girl all the time you’d have some chance of explaining.

‘We wrote to the school expressing our concerns and received that letter about transphobic bullying back. We felt we had no choice but to do what we’ve done.

‘It wasn’t an easy decision. We care for these families. We care for the school. This is not about them. We are challenging the education authority and the diocese on the guidelines they’re giving. We believe they’re quoting from laws [the Equality Act 2010] that don’t apply in this situation; that’s because the age of when someone is legally recognised as transgender is 18.’ His eyes rest on a happy family photograph taken months ago. He shakes his head and is visibly upset. Sally rubs his arm.

‘When we went to see the head and deputy head to tell them we were removing our son from school, they said: “To be honest we’re not surprised,”’ she says. ‘The head told us: “We’ve done everything we’ve been told to do. I have no choice. If a child wants to come as whatever, I have to accept it or I could lose my job.” ’

Now Sally shakes her head in despair. She is, she confesses, ‘scared stiff’. Such is the hate campaign being waged against them she is terrified for her family’s safety.

Time and again this gently-spoken couple have questioned whether they should have taken this stand. In truth, I suspect they often wish that they hadn’t. For they are an easy-going, outdoorsy couple more comfortable on the beach with their boys than in a TV studio.

They are also, though, people of conscience who, while fully accepting that not everyone shares their Christian values or their views on gender identity, believe in their right to bring their children up according to their religious beliefs without being forced to submit to the wishes of the rainbow activists.

After all, imagine the condemnation had Sally or Nigel accused these activists of being ‘as extremist as people like ISIS’. This is what one Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) campaigner was allowed to label the Rowes’ fellow Christians without so much as a raised eyebrow on the BBC.

‘It’s all so bizarre,’ says Sally. ‘Nothing seems real any more.’

Take, for instance, a discussion on a BBC current affairs programme this week during which it was claimed that the mother of the older transgender child had said her daughter, who is eight, was ‘scared’ following the Rowes’ stand. The couple were lambasted for airing their grievance so very publicly when the interests of vulnerable children were at stake.

That child, however, is the very same one whose mother plastered her story over the pages of a tabloid newspaper two years ago after she decided to become a girl.

Sally says they had known this child’s family since pre-school and the mother had spoken to her a number of years ago about her then son becoming more interested in stereotypically girls’ toys, such as Barbies, and more feminine in his behaviour. ‘She said she didn’t know what to do. I told her not to worry. There’s often a bit of confusion, isn’t there?’

Things changed, according to Nigel, after the BBC broadcast Louis Theroux’s Transgender Kids documentary in April 2015. ‘I believe that was the catalyst for the whole of Britain,’ he says. ‘The statistics for transgender children went from something like 300 to 3,000 after that programme.

‘I remember speaking to the child’s dad in the playground after the documentary and he said: “He wants to be a girl, but I’m not sure. We’re going to discuss it.” It went from that to the child announcing in Show and Tell: “I am now a girl.”

‘Our son came home and said, matter-of-factly, So-and-so’s now called, let’s say Sarah, and is now a girl. We didn’t want to make a big thing about it because our son was only six. But gradually questions started.

‘They’re like: “A boy can be a girl?” “A girl can be a boy?” “A boy can marry a boy?” That’s fine with some people, but as Christians we believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

‘Our boys don’t even know how a baby is made. They know it came out of mummy’s tummy but that’s about it. Gender for them is trying to work out why they have a willy and mummy doesn’t.’

The Rowes muddled through school with their elder son for another year. Sally says he became increasingly withdrawn and reluctant to go in. They decided to home school him at the end of Year 2.

‘“Sarah” was wearing skirts and had grown her hair by then. ‘But it has nothing to do with boys wearing frocks,’ says Nigel, who spent much of his childhood in Africa, where his father worked as an economic adviser to developing countries receiving aid. ‘If a child came into school in a kilt or a sarong, it wouldn’t bother me. When I’m in Kenya I wear a sarong. ‘Saying this is about us being upset that a boy is turning up to school in a dress is trivialising it.’

Sally nods: ‘My youngest son has dressed up in girls’ stuff. He has a fancy-dress box and used to love dressing up as Supergirl. It’s just experimenting. Kids experiment. You don’t make a thing of it.

‘Academics and medical professionals are divided on whether we should introduce young children to transgender policies.

‘Ninety-eight per cent of gender-confused children stick with their biological sex once they’ve gone through puberty.

‘How many of us were tomboys when we were little but enjoy being women now?’

Their younger son was part way through Year 1 when the second child — the one currently confused about their gender — joined the school. Sally and Nigel’s youngest told his parents: ‘One day he was a boy and the next day a girl,’ which ‘confused’ him, and they decided enough was enough. The exchange of letters followed, leading to where they are today. They went public on their decision about legal action last week.

On Saturday night the mother of the older transgender child, Sally’s friend, phoned at 10.45pm. ‘She said: “I can’t believe it. You’ve got the kindest heart, how could you do this to me?” She broke down and kept sobbing: “How could you do this,” ’ Sally recalls.

‘I said: “I haven’t mentioned your name. I haven’t mentioned the children. I haven’t mentioned the school. I care for you but you have to understand our feelings.” Then she put on Facebook: “Sally Rowe is going to sue my beautiful daughter’s school.”

‘I sent a text saying: “This isn’t about you. I’m not attacking you.” ‘This is a concern for children all over the country. We have to take a stand. We’re taking legal action so these guidelines that affect all of our children can be debated and scrutinised publicly.

‘The last I heard from her she said: “I am going to the police tomorrow because this is inciting hate.” I’d explained to her before that we’re not being hateful.

‘We’re doing this because we’re concerned. If anything, we’re going to receive the hatred.’ Which they have, by the bucket-load. So much so that there is a sense of bewilderment today, as if they’ve fallen down Alice In Wonderland’s rabbit hole and nothing is the same. ‘Some mums have texted to say: “I’m sending you a big hug” but don’t want to speak publicly.

‘One parent texted on Sunday to say: “Big love from our family and you’re in our hearts and thoughts,” but nobody wants to put themselves through the hostility we’ve faced . . . ’ Again, she is on the verge of tears.

‘We’re trying to keep a low profile. The people who are lovely and supportive have told us to keep off social media. There’s been a torrent of nastiness. It does churn us up. It does affect you, the foul language, the ranting down the phone. Nigel’s tummy has been in knots since last Saturday.’ She nods to her husband.

‘I don’t understand it,’ says Nigel. ‘When you go to hospital and your child is born, they lift them up and say: “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl.” That’s the way it’s been for centuries. ‘Why is there now such a social agenda to change that?’


Judge Suspends City’s Ban of Farmers Over Their Marriage Views

A federal judge ruled Friday that the Michigan farmers who were banned from selling their produce at a farmers market on public property because of their religious beliefs about marriage may resume selling their goods there as early as Sunday while their case proceeds.

The decision provides much-needed relief to Steve and Bridget Tennes, owners of Country Mill Farms in Charlotte, Michigan. East Lansing city officials had banned the Tennes family from selling at the East Lansing Farmer’s Market over a Facebook post addressing the farm’s policy on hosting same-sex weddings.

“As the court found, East Lansing officials changed their market policy to shut out Steve because they don’t like his Catholic beliefs regarding marriage,” Kate Anderson, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing the Tenneses, told The Daily Signal in an email.

“The court was right to issue this order, which will allow Steve to return to the 2017 farmers market while his case moves forward,” Anderson wrote.

The Tenneses told The Daily Signal in an interview earlier this week that the farmers market in East Lansing is the largest market where they sell.

“Since June 1, we’ve already missed three and a half months of being able to attend East Lansing Farmer’s Market, where we’ve served everyone for the last seven years,” Steve Tennes said by phone Wednesday.

“Now we only have about six weeks left of the market to be able to sell, and the … East Lansing Farmer’s Market was the largest farmers market [where] our family sold organic apples and cider.”

In May, the Tenneses filed a federal lawsuit against East Lansing over the decision to ban them from selling produce at the city’s farmers market, even though their farm is 22 miles outside the city in a different jurisdiction.

“Due to our religious beliefs, we do not participate in the celebration of a same-sex union,” they wrote in part on Facebook in August 2016, in response to a question about the family farm’s services as a wedding venue.

The Tenneses, who are Catholic, say they have never before faced a discrimination complaint of any kind.

The city responded to the couple’s lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss the case. Country Mill Farms sought an injunction allowing the Tenneses to return to the market while the case proceeds.

Both motions were heard for an hour Wednesday before District Court Judge Paul Maloney in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In his decision issued Friday, Maloney did not address the city’s motion to dismiss.

His decision to grant the Tenneses the temporary injunction is good news for the family, although their legal fight is far from over. Maloney has yet to rule on the merits of their case.

In the meantime, lawyers for Country Mill Farms are taking the ruling as a positive sign for the family.

“Just like all Americans, a farmer should be free to live and speak according to his deeply held religious beliefs without fear of government punishment,” Anderson said.


Hope Hicks Shows Accomplishments for Women, by Women, Count Only If You’re a Democrat

This week, Hope Hicks became communications director for President Donald Trump, joining press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to make the first female-led White House communications team in history.

Naturally, this was celebrated in every major female-oriented publication.

Just kidding.

The announcement came in the form of a promotion for Hicks, who has been serving as interim communications director since Anthony Scaramucci’s dramatic departure. The 28-year-old from Greenwich, Connecticut, keeps a uniquely low profile, and is thought to be one of Trump’s most loyal and trusted advisers.

In addition to Hicks, the White House also announced Mercedes Schlapp a senior strategic communications adviser.

To be clear, I didn’t expect Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and the rest of these “women” magazines to celebrate Hope Hicks or any other woman in the White House for their politics. In fact, they’ve made it pretty clear where they stand on Donald Trump’s presidency.

But I do expect these “feminist” magazines to celebrate the fact that yet another young woman has climbed to the top in her field—in the White House, no less.

This is a perfect example of the problem that Sheryl Sandberg and so many others attempt to highlight. The problem with women’s equality isn’t that women can’t get jobs—it’s that they’re underrepresented as they work their way up the career ladder.

We can debate why this is for years to come, whether it’s because they leave the workforce earlier than men, whether it’s the type of industries they go into, what they actually want out of their careers, or whether they’re actually being treated unfairly. But the reality is, women lag in leadership roles, and the White House is doing its part to change that.

Putting aside the politics involved, you’d think the president of the United States’ choosing women to lead his communications team would be a big deal for female-focused publications, particularly coming from a man they so often paint as a misogynist.

But of course, feminists are staying silent, showing once again that accomplishments for women, by women, only count if you’re a Democrat.

We, on the other hand, think it’s pretty awesome, and would like to recognize Hicks, Sanders, and all the other women in the White House for setting an example for young girls and women, that they can lead and inspire from inside the nation’s most important office.


Thought crime fears motivate same-sex marriage opponents at 'no' campaign launch

Australia is at the moment having a plebiscite to determine if homosexual marriage will be instituted

Leading "no" campaigners, including Turnbull government MPs, say they fear it will become illegal to oppose same-sex marriage in word or even thought, if gay marriage is legalised.

The extraordinary claims, made at the campaign launch for the Coalition for Marriage on Saturday night, went as far as expressing fear that thought crime would be punished by law.

Cory Bernardi drives 'No' campaign

The South Australian senator claims that the anti same-sex marriage campaign is on the 'right side of legal and moral history'.

Matthew Canavan, a member of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet until he resigned over his dual citizenship, told the 1500-strong Sydney audience: "The 'yes' side want to make it illegal to just express a different view about marriage, that is their agenda."

On the sidelines, he told Fairfax Media he feared "a strong push to effectively eradicate the view that marriage should be between a man and a woman, to make it illegal".

Asked if his concerns about freedom extended as far as thought-crime, replied: "Yeah, well it is. The anti-discrimination [laws], particularly the state-based ones, are very wide ranging in application."

Senator Canavan was backed by Turnbull government minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi, who said these were valid concerns of same-sex marriage opponents.

"If the state redefines marriage, it also redefines how you can speak, think, advocate and believe about marriage," Senator Bernardi said. "That is the very real consequence of what is to come if we lose this battle."

Several speakers at the $15-a-head event cited the case of Tasmanian Archbishop Julian Porteous being hauled before the state's anti-discrimination commission over a booklet opposing same-sex marriage - a case in which the church prevailed.

Speakers also portrayed the "no" side as the victim of a concerted campaign by elites, the media and big business. There were boos from the audience for Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore, who is backing the "yes" side with ratepayers' money.

Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York described the "yes" side as "carefully orchestrated, cashed-up and ruthless".

To rapturous applause, she suggested a "no" vote in Australia could be the start of a global "push back" against same-sex marriage, which has been legalised in more than 20 countries.

Outside, 60-year-old Doreen Kirchner from Pennant Hills said she feared moral decline if marriage were to be expanded to include gay couples.

"I think if same-sex marriage gets in it'll be a slippery slope downhill morally. And I want to protect my children and my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren," she told Fairfax Media.

"I don't have a problem with gays per se, I don't have a problem with them having a civil union. But the Marriage Act is for a man and a woman."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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