MN social media leaders notice creative use of stock photo in latest MCPL anti-transgender ad


Content provided by Bluestem Prairie and republished with permission. For more in-depth news from Greater Minnesota, check out

After former City Pages editor Kevin Hoffman tweeted a photo of the latest full-page ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune opposing a proposed Minnesota State High School League policy governing the involvement of transgender athletes in school sports, the wits of the North Star state’s twittersphere conducted a bit of crowdsourced critique and research.

[Update} We have learned that the full-paged ad also ran in the Mankato Free Press. [end update]

Media critic David Brauer’s tweet:

There was this Steller performance:

Does this mark the birth of a hashtag?

MPR blogger Bob Collins has more in Opposition mobilizes again to MSHSL transgender policy, including a PDF of the proposed policy:

Minnesota State High School League draft transgender policy

Minnesota State High School League draft transgender policy by Bob Collins

Deeper background on the Minnesota Child Protection League

The ad is the second placed by the Minnesota Child Protection League, a conservative anti-GLBT organization formed by the usual suspects wandering the state’s landscape. The group, which opposes recognition and respect for LGBT children. opposed the Safe School’s anti-bullying law.

The Column’s Andy Birkey rummaged around in their closet last winter, producing Meet the team behind the Minnesota Child Protection League. He wrote:

MCPL’s lead spokesperson is Barb Anderson, a ubiquitous figure in the school bullying debate. Anderson has long volunteered as a researcher for the Minnesota Family Council, which led two failed battles against marriage equality. She was also a vocal opponent of LGBT safety in the Anoka-Hennepin School District where she helped launch the Parents Action League. PAL is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its adamant demands to have the ex-gay movement in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

Anderson has made some extreme statements about LGBT people, so much so that GLAAD has added her to its Commentator Accountability Project.

For example, she once said, “The greatest threat to our freedom and the health and well-being of our children is from this radical homosexual agenda that is just so pervasive.”

Anderson is joined by several other veterans of anti-LGBT campaigns, particularly Education Liberty Watch formerly known as EdWatch.

Renee Doyle has been part of the movement from the beginning. Doyle, along with Michele Bachmann and several others, founded the Maple River Education Coalition in the early 2000s. That morphed into Edwatch in the mid-2000s and today is called Education Liberty Watch.

The group has long advocated against the inclusion of safety programs for LGBT youth. For exemple, the group criticized Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2006 for “promotion of homosexual agenda” after his commissioner of education included a link to OutFront Minnesota on the department’s website.

“Homosexual advocacy groups are being funded by grants from the state Department of Health under his authority,” wrote EdWatch in a letter about Pawlenty. “Additionally, under Governor Pawlenty’s supervision, his administration is actively promoting the indoctrination of students into a homosexual worldview and value system.”

Other members of Edwatch are also part of MCPL.

Julie Quist, a former Bachmann staffer and wife of failed (and homophobic) candidate for congress Allen Quist, proudly lists her membership on the MCPL board on her LinkedIn profile.

Republican activist Marjorie Holsten is also a board member and registered MCPL with the Minnesota Secretary of State in August.

Holsten received national attention for her appearance on The Daily Show protesting a student taking a porn star to the prom.

Birkey took note of the group’s first ad in an article published in late September, Star Tribune publishes full-page anti-transgender ad by Child Protection League:

On the back of the sports section, the Minnesota’s largest newspaper published an ad from the Minnesota Child Protection League targeting a proposed policy to allow transgender students participate in high school athletics.

The Minnesota Child Protection League, an anti-LGBT group that opposes LGBT inclusion in the state’s public schools, bought an ad in the Sunday Star Tribune. The ad says, “A male wants to shower next to your 14 year old daughter. Are you okay with that?”

Birkey captured tweeted reactions to the ad as well; go check them out in the article.

The MCPL’s campaign did cause the Minnesota State High School League to table a decision on the policy until a December 4 meeting, Birkey wrote in Facing pressure from anti-LGBT groups, Minnesota league tables trans-inclusive policy.

The article also fact-checked many of the claims the MCPL has been making about the proposed policy:

At the start of the meeting, Dave Stead, head of the MSHSL tried to dispel some of the myths being spread by anti-LGBT groups about the policy.

“When people talk about people using restroom and 14 year old boys showing with girls, that’s misinformation that has been presented to you for whatever reason — I’m not sure but none of that is in the current draft. The Child Protection League used a draft that had been changed — if you look at the website and some of you had, it talks about the transparent policy and then it talks about the latest policy. The latest policy is what we are looking at today. The ad in the paper last Sunday talked about lots of things that weren’t in the latest policy. I can only guess why that happened.”

On the question of mandatory “transgender sensitivity training,” he said: “People have tried to misrepresent that.” He said that it’s included in the policy as “something schools might want to consider”

In fact, the first draft of the policy never mentioned any training. The second draft — the one under consideration on Wednesday and Thursday — never mentioned training either. Instead, under the section titled, “areas of awareness,” it stated, “Encourage schools to educate teachers, counselors, coaches, administrators, parents, students, and others regarding transgender sensitivity relative to students.”

Despite that, the Minnesota Child Protection League took out a full-page ad in the Star Tribune that read, “‘Transgender sensitivity training’ is required for all students, teachers, counselors, coaches, staff, and parents at school district cost.”

Birkey also pointed out that the organizations speaking shared something in addition to transphobia:

Most of the speakers in opposition to the policy had a connection with either the Child Protection League or the Minnesota Family Council.

Autumn Leva of Minnesota Family Council complained that that group’s letters to the MSHSL weren’t responded to. Her group is housed at the office building at 2855 St. Anthony Lane in Minneapolis. Sharing the same building is the Minnesota Catholic Conference. MCC’s Jason Adkins testified that transgender inclusion by the federal government is a “spurious interpretation of Title IX by the Obama administration.” James Ballentine of the North Star Law and Policy Center also testified in opposition. His group is also located at 2855 St. Anthony Lane.

Melissa Coleman was concerned that transgender students will have a competitive advantage in sports and opposed the policy. Coleman was also an outspoken opponent of marriage equality, and is the authorized agent for the Minnesota Religious Freedom Forum and the North Star Law and Policy Center, both of which are housed at 2855 St. Anthony Lane. She did not identify that affiliation.

Also speaking against the policy was Renee Carlson and Evan Wilson, both of whom spoke out against marriage equality and were part of Lawyers for Marriage, a project of Minnesota for Marriage which is housed at 2855 St. Anthony Lane. Neither announced any affiliations.

Bluestem had wondered what spawned that quiver full of allies. Now we know: proximity.

The North Star Law and Policy Center is also asking opponents to share the infographic below; anti-LGBT stalwarts like Minnesota state representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) have done so on Facebook.


Photos: From the embedded tweets (above); the North Star Law and Policy Center’s infographic (below).

Previous articleArts and Culture Calendar: Thanksgiving edition
Next articleChild Protection League Action Uses Stock Photo of Lesbian Novel in Anti-LGBT Ad
Bluestem Prairie is a hip (but not cynical) rural magazine for those who prefer to take their corn with a progressive chaser and tongue planted firmly in cheek. The site is owned and edited by Sally Jo Sorensen, who lives in Maynard, Minnesota, a small town of 266 people in Chippewa County.