Published April 13, 2022
Is Michelle Goldberg a conservative plant at The New York Times? Although she claims to be a liberal feminist, some of her recent columns are essentially admissions that social conservatives have been right all along. In another entry in this genre, she purports to critique the “freakout over sex and gender identity in schools” — only to tacitly admit that schools are indoctrinating children into LGBT ideology and grooming them into LGBT identities.
Goldberg accuses conservatives of stoking a “moral panic” akin to the “‘satanic panic’ of the 1980s, a frenzy of accusations of ritual child abuse that resulted in the conviction of dozens of innocent people.” Yet she then demonstrates the current fears are reality-based.
Her evidence that this is a panic consists of highlighting some unfounded rumors about educators indulging students with a furry fetish. She then admits that “there’s been a great evolution in how students think about gender and sexuality” with “an even bigger generational shift with trans issues. Many middle-aged liberal parents I know have different ideas about gender than their more radical adolescent kids, and I assume the gulf must be even larger in many conservative families.” In short, the sexual orientation and gender identity revolution is real, even if a few internet rumors about it are not.
Similarly, in response to the huge increase in LGBT identities among the young, Goldberg writes that “It’s obvious that more kids are going to come out in high schools where they’ll be accepted and celebrated than in those where they’ll be bullied and abused.”
True, and it is also obvious that this does not explain the mass conversions of adolescents, especially girls, to rainbow identities. Goldberg herself relays, without dispute, the example of a summer camp from which “a third of the girls came back saying that they were nonbinary or queer or gender nonconforming.”
This self-refutation continues to Goldberg’s conclusion. She does reiterate her ugly victim-blaming regarding the infamous Loudoun County rape case — why is a supposed feminist shaming a teenage girl for being raped in circumstances inconvenient to the agenda of men in dresses?
Yet she ends with a quote the victim’s mother had given to the Daily Wire, noting how her daughter was still drifting along with the gender revolution: “’Where does she get these ideas? From school, obviously,’ the mother said. ‘It’s not from our home.’”
The Left’s Contradictions
Once again, Goldberg has confirmed that social conservatives were right: educators really are leading students in a sexual and gender identity revolution, which is then furthered by social media and peer pressure. Nonetheless, Goldberg is probably not a closet conservative writing esoterically to get past her editors.
Rather, she seems to be ensnared by the contradictions of the left’s current orthodoxy on sex and gender. This sort of confusion, along with her apparently unwitting confirmations that conservatives were right, is inevitable because the LGBT movement’s justifying mantra of “born this way” is false, as demonstrated by what is happening in schools.
The born this way creed posits that sexual orientation and gender identity are innate and immutable, and that an authentic and flourishing life requires accepting these inborn identities. Thus, teaching young children about sexual orientation and gender identity is necessary to help them discover and live as their true selves, otherwise they will be repressed, miserable, and perhaps even suicidal. This is the logic behind the constant references to “LGBT youth” and “trans kids,” as well as President Joe Biden’s support for chemically and surgically transitioning children.
The True Source of Gender
But this view has been discredited. There is no gay gene. Nor is there an established biological basis for transgender identification.The case for transition rests on shoddy social science; some researchers even lie about their results. This is why transgender advocates rely on the abusive emotional blackmail of suicide threats.
The truth is that sexual inclinations and one’s sense of gender arise from a mix of biological, environmental, and cultural factors, of which genes are only a minor part. The interactions of these elements are complex and are not the same for everyone. We may have predispositions, but no one is predestined to identify as LGBT.
We can see this complexity and fluidity playing out in our culture, especially among the young. It is not just that youth are much more likely to identify as LGBT, but that they are deconstructing and recombining sexual and gender identities, often encouraged by their educators and under the influence of social media.
Educators Pushing LGBT Ideology
Nonetheless, the legacy of the (very politically successful) creed of “born this way” persists. It encourages teaching children about rainbow identities at young ages, justified by the presumption that some of them are already among the LGBT elect, even if they don’t know it yet. But rather than drawing out and nurturing intrinsic identities, instructing young children in LGBT ideology shapes their identities. Activist educators claim to protect trans children, but they are actually helping create trans children.
Horrifying examples are emerging of educators pushing young children into trans identities, even against the wishes of parents (some schools even hide these changes from parents). The Libs of TikTok Twitter account exposes a steady stream of such abuses — and these are just the activists dumb enough to boast online about what they are doing. In New Jersey, new state teaching standards have school districts distributing sample lesson plans instructing first and second graders in gender ideology and sexual orientation.
The LGBT educational agenda has more red flags than the Soviet army, from teachers talking to young children about sex to school counselors helping them to keep sexual and gender secrets from their parents. Groomer is as good a term as any for pedagogues who are eager to inform five-year-olds about sexual orientation, or who respond to the gender confusion of a troubled adolescent girl by encouraging her to inject testosterone, grow a beard, and have her breasts amputated.
The youth LGBT revolution is not a natural development among children expressing innate identities. Rather, it is an artificial social contagion encouraged by adult ideologues indoctrinating students — a six-year-old does not conclude on his own that a boy can have a vagina and a girl can have a penis. This is why parents are in revolt against the education establishment and why a liberal feminist writer can’t help admitting that the grooming is real.
Nathanael Blake is a senior contributor to The Federalist and a postdoctoral fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.