She-Males in the Classroom. Oh My!

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Christian conservatives have long warned that if gays and lesbians were allowed equal rights in the workplace, they would rush into the public schools and seize the opportunity to spread the “homosexual lifestyle” among the country’s impressionable youth. Those attacks have lost traction as gays have won more legal protections and openly gay teachers have joined the educational mainstream. But leave it to the Traditional Values Coalition to revive the gay teacher line as it’s sought to kill off legislation pending in Congress that would finally protect gays and lesbians from workplace discrimination. The inspiration for the latest attack comes from a provision in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, better known as ENDA, that also would extend workforce protections to transexuals.

Over the past year, the Traditional Values Coalition has issued numerous hysterical reports warning about all the hypothetical dangers of giving “she-males” the legally protected right to pee in the ladies room, for instance. But apparently American women aren’t too worried about drag queens in the loo, so TVC has ramped up its scary rhetoric with a new website launched Tuesday focusing on the threat the legislation poses to, yes, the nation’s precious public school children. As TVC puts it, if ENDA passes,

“your children will be trapped in classes taught by drag queens and transgender activists. Students will be indoctrinated that “alternative lifestyles” are no different than traditional lifestyles. Young children will be forced to learn about bizarre sexual fetishes – and you will have no say in the matter. It is already happening in some states and concerned parents can’t do a thing about it.”

It’s hard to know whether TVC’s new campaign will resonate with the public. The “Will and Grace” generation is about to become a significant voting block and have kids themselves, and all the polling data suggests that they might find such hyperbolic appeals insensitive and ridiculously out of touch with reality. TVC is clearly trying its best to stun them into support (and donations!) with a parade of potential ENDA horrors. But as with its potty paranoia reports, TVC is really stretching to make a compelling case. In fact, some of its material could end up backfiring. features all of three instances since 1999 where children were forced to learn from someone undergoing gender reassignment and whose parents were unable to either get the teacher fired or move their kids to another classroom. Some people might consider that progress.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend