Content provided by ClaireOverThere and republished with permission. To read more of Claire-Renee Kohner’s writing, visit clairekohner.wordpress.com.
The MN Child Protection League Action PAC [CPLActionPAC] issued an action alert to their current followers concerning the Transgender Athletic Policy coming up for a vote on December 4, 2014. They claim that the Minnesota State High School League [MSHSL] is not listening to “you” and have urged their members to call the MSHSL and regurgitate their tired talking points to oppose the policy.
The alert continues to state, “They [children] should not be used as tools of aggressive special interest groups with dangerous agendas that will harm children.” Based on their past lobbying efforts, this appears to be what the CPLActionPAC is, an aggressive special interest group putting our children in harms way, particularly those in the LGBT community.
On September 26th, 2014 the CPLActionPAC in MN spent approximately $37,000.00 on a full page ad in the Sunday Sports section of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The headline blared “A male wants to shower beside your 14-year old daughter…Are you OK with that?” and intentionally created a controversial debate in Minnesota concerning transgender student athletes competing in K-12 sports and urged the public to attend the October 1st meeting to oppose the new policy of inclusion.
Executive Direct, David Stead of the Minnesota State High School League [MSHSL] stated that the current policy draft was constructed borrowing the best practices from the 32 states that have already past a similar policy regarding transgender student athletes. The policy is an inclusive document that basically allows transgender athletes to participate in sports while their privacy is protected. Although the ad was debunked line-by-line, there were 55 people signed up to speak, but due to time constraints, approximately 40 made it to the podium. Packed with more than 150 “concerned citizens”, the CPLAction PAC came well-armed with proxy mouth pieces to oppose the bill and push their anti-transgender agenda.
This isn’t the first time the CPLAction PAC has been opposed to LGBT student rights under the guise of “protection.” “We’re concerned about protecting children,” said Michele Lentz, the state coordinator for Child Protection League Action on their website. Child Protection League aims to protect all children from “exploitation, indoctrination and violence.” A paradoxical stance considering CPLAction PAC’s past campaign was opposing the Safe Schools Bill.
HF 826, the Safe Schools Bill, or the “Anti-Bullying Bill” would take Minnesota from having one of the weakest laws on school bullying to a policy on parity with the rest of the country. Governor Dayton’s Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Prevention of Bullying Task Force Report HF 826 was opposed by the CPLAction PAC stating, “This report includes language that opens the door to emotionally damaging, sexually explicit curriculum for all school-age children regarding human sexuality.” The opposition to the law was also met with at 27 minute video and DVD issued by the CPLAction PAC containing explicit cartoon like drawn pictures about sexuality, including images of children in a sexual context.
“We universally in Minnesota –every one of us– oppose bullying,” said Lentz. “We care about children and we want all children to be protected. Period. But we don’t believe this bill will stop or prevent bullying.” stated Lentz on CBS Minnesota. The CPLAction PAC continues on their website, “Values and attitudes about human sexuality will be transformed by means of “inclusive curriculum (HF 826, line 11.19)” The CPLAction PAC assumes, “When it comes to human sexuality, “inclusive” means normalizing anal sex and presenting it as equivalent to vaginal intercourse.” The lobbying effort was unsuccessful and the bill was signed by Governor Dayton in April of 2014, handing the CPLAction PAC a defeat.
If the CPLAction PAC seems to have a consistently anti-LGBT agenda, it’s because it is supported by members of Education Liberty Watch and Barb Anderson, head of the Parents Action League [PAL]. PAL has been designated as an LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Barb Anderson has suggested that, “a lot” of gay teens have been sexually abused, which is why they are “sexually confused” and in need of “change.”
On November 18th of 2013, Anderson addressed the Southwest Metro Tea Party stating, “The transgender movement under the label of gender identity and expression which, is the language in this bill, is sweeping across the nation and into our schools at an accelerated pace. The phrase boys will be boys can now mean boys will be girls. This is warped thinking that defies biology medical facts and common sense. The gender identity and expression is a politically biased, fabricated term. It includes transgender and cross-dressing. The medically correct term is gender identity disorder. Why is there more protection for this one disorder while excluding other disorders like attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia, bulimia, and Asperger’s syndrome — this is just to name a few? And the children in these categories they are more likely to be bullied than the other students.”
At the October 1, 2014 MSHSL meeting, cries from the CPLAction PAC were made that bullying at the schools against transgender students would increase if this policy was passed and “besides, transgender students will be protected from bullying under the Safe Schools Act” [the very bill the CPLAction PAC opposed, they were now standing behind], so the way to reduce transgender violence in public schools was to oppose this policy.
Full disclosure, as a trans-woman who spoke at the October 1, 2014 MSHSL meeting, I stated “78% of transgender students suffered from harassment at school K-12. In this scenario, who is afraid of whom?” The CPLAction PAC agenda seems to exclude the LGBT student body as well as the Gender Non-Conforming community, but hides behind the mask of “protecting children”.
The vote taken on October 2, 2014 by the MSHSL was tabled until December 4, 2014. This didn’t necessarily hand the CPLAction PAC a victory, but allowed them to ramp up their efforts to defeat this Trans inclusive policy.
On November 14, 2014, CPLAction PAC launched an aggressive email, Facebook, Twitter and website campaign reminding their members to attend the December 4th meeting to voice their opinions against the new policy. They once again stated that the policy “creates the potential for children of the opposite sex to SHOWER WITH EACH OTHER, DRESS WITH EACH OTHER, and SHARE HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS.” and urges their approximate 1500 Facebook followers to contact the MSHSL Board and speak up to oppose this policy.
The CPLAction went on to state the following in their recent Anti-LGBT campaign.
This once again perpetuates the “boy in a dress” scare-tactic that CPLAction PAC knows is a trigger point for their followers. I reached out the CPLAction PAC via Facebook asking for some clarification on their stance regarding female-to-male [FTM] student athletes and if they feared that “girls would be showering in the boys locker facilities”. I specifically asked if CPLAction PAC believed that FTM students should not be allowed on boy’s teams if they felt that MTF transgender athletes were banned from girl’s sports. As of yet, they have chosen not to respond.
CPLAction PAC is unknowingly correct in saying that “Gender is Biology” and proof of this began to appear in 2008 with Australia’s Prince Henry’s Institute Study on the DNA of transgender individuals lead by Dr. Vincent Harley. Previous studies had shown that the brain structures of Male-to-Female transgender individuals were more “female-like,” however the Prince Henry Study took it one step further and pinpointed the cause.
In this study, the DNA of 112 transgender people were studied against a group of 258 controls and found a longer androgen receptor gene in those who were transgender; this genetic difference resulted in weaker testosterone level in MTF transgender individuals. In an interview with The Telegraph, Professor Vincent Harley stated, “There is a social stigma that transsexualism is simply a lifestyle choice, however our findings support a biological basis of how gender identity develops.”
Since 2008, multiple studies have also shown that an atypical gender identity is triggered by genetics and biology via a defective AR gene. These further studies virtually eliminate the clinical debate of whether being transgender is a “choice” while also discrediting the CPLAction PAC’s talking point that DNA is not involved in gender expression.
Instead of debunking misinformation and straw-man scenarios and assumptions presented by the CPLAction PAC, Minnesota has already positively and successfully implemented this unwritten policy in the Hopkins School District 270 with Jae Bates. Jae is the Hopkins, MN. graduate who in the 11th grade informed his coaches that he wanted to be addressed as a transgender male. I reached out to Jae to find out what kind of accommodations were offered to make him feel inclusive and safe as a trans athlete, Jae stated,
“Hopkins was very accommodating and most accommodations were made by the coaches directly rather than the district. I actually never had a problem that wasn’t immediately addressed that would require going to the district level. My coaches changed my name on all of their rosters and allowed me to compete the way I wanted and encouraged me to keep an open line of communication about if that were to ever change. I was allowed access to gender neutral bathrooms to change if I desired them and they kept the team a very friendly and supportive place.”
In other words, the same accommodations suggested by the MSHSL draft policy were already being implemented by the individual school district with no need to elevate the requests to a higher level. In essence, the policy that the CPLAction PAC is so vehemently opposed to has already been put into place at the local level. The MSHSL Policy simply creates a Standard Operating Procedure to be used as a statewide guideline.
The CPLAction is a registered Political Action Committee [PAC] that runs on a shoe-string budget ending the month of September with just $1360.00 attained mostly through donations from Barb Anderson, Michele Lentz, Julie M. Quist and Douglas Seaton.
A PAC is a political committee specifically organized for the sole purpose of pooling money and resources to defeat a candidate or to lobby against policy. CPLAction PAC is a registered PAC [reg. #41127] and is required to report their receipts and expenditures to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
According to the Board, October total donations reached $4065.00 in cash and in kind, however a $1000.00 donation reported a back date to September 20, [the week the $37,000 full-page ad was run in the Star-Tribune] by Renee T. Doyle. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Doyle was the founder of the now shuttered Edwatch, an organization similar to CPLAction PAC with a firm anti-LGBT stance. Doyle is currently employed by Rep. Michele Bachmann as a Senior Legislative Assistant and refused to answer my questions related to her donation.
Finally, as we witness the anti-LGBT propaganda pushed this week by the CPLAction PAC to spread misinformation about the transgender athlete policy proposed by the MSHSL, one question still remains; with a September and October balance not exceeding $4065.00, where did the $37,000.00 come from to run a full page ad in the Star-Tribune on September 28, 2014? It certainly wasn’t reported on the Receipts and Expenditures Report received by the Board on October 24, 2014 and electronically signed by Julie M. Quist.
Contact the CPLAction PAC [http://cplaction.com/contact/ ] and let them know that Minnesota stands for equality for every student.