The religious right is ramping up anti-transgender rhetoric ahead of high school league vote to include transgender students in extra-curricular activities.
The Child Protection League, an anti-LGBT group which took out a full-page ad in the Star Tribune that critics said painted Minnesota’s transgender high school students as predators, has been responsible with fomenting opposition to the policy. The Minnesota State High School League drafted a policy it says will provide a framework for schools where transgender students are involved with athletics and other extra-curricular activities. The league is set to vote on the policy on Dec. 4.
MNCPL spokesperson Michele Lentz has asserted that the group is not anti-LGBT, and have even claimed they are not targeting transgender students. In a recent email, the group wrote: “There is no maligning of transgender youth. CPLAction is concerned about policy that is unsafe for children–transgender and all other students alike.”
But, in an interview with WorldNetDaily, an anti-LGBT conservative news outlet, Minnesota Child Protection League spokesperson Michele Lentz claimed that if transgender students are allowed to play on sports teams that align with their gender, it will lead to rape.
“Just hearing about this has caused great public alarm,” Lentz explained. “The policy is generally so outrageous that our biggest hurdle is to get the public to take it seriously. Our challenge is to make very clear that this is a massive, radical, well-funded national push to entirely up-end our culture. It attacks our children to the core of their beings, and creates questions that will undermine relationships of all kinds, including marriages and families.
“We call this a war against kids,” Lentz said, citing a wide array of harms that could afflict high-school students under the plan.
The consequences of allowing the transgender policy to go forward may include, for example, male athletes suddenly appearing in female locker rooms, showers and toilets – or vice versa, if a girl claimed to be male.
“Traveling teams may find themselves sharing hotel accommodations with an athlete of the opposite gender,” Lentz warned, echoing a common concern among Minnesota parents.
From middle school and above, Lentz added, students will be faced with situations in which they will be “expected to treat obviously male or female athletes as if they are the opposite gender, including addressing them as such.”
“The consequences of placing adolescent teens, primarily 13 to 18 years old, in unisex locker rooms are limitless,” Lentz said.
“Depending on the age, some will be sexually assaulted simply through the naked presence of the other gender. Some will be mercilessly bullied. Some will be raped,” she said. “And all will be forced to deny the obvious – the logic, science and attributes of each biological gender.”
Even more dangerous still, perhaps, is that the policy represents a “direct attack on the structure of the family and the essence of manhood and womanhood,” Lentz said.
“It denies the existence of two distinct sexes,” she added. “We no longer are confined to our ‘assigned’ gender at birth. It is irrelevant.”
Despite Lentz’ claims, transgender-inclusive policies in other states have not led to sexual assaults or rape. In fact, over the last ten years, 32 states have implemented some version of a transgender-inclusive athletics policy.
MNCPL, and it’s political arm CPL Action, have been ramping up activity in the last week. The group has sent out emails over the last week claiming the policy was a “horrific attack on children” and blamed it on “aggressive special interest groups with dangerous agendas that will harm children.”
MNCPL also claims to have placed anti-transgender ads in local papers around the state (one has already run in the Jordan Independent. Here are the group’s most recent emails: