BASS: Let them be who they are

I don't really understand the idea of designating no gender or allowing children to change gender -- but that doesn't really matter.

I'm not the one faced with that life-altering decision and none of my children have ever raised that kind of issue. I have many friends, however, who first fought the idea of a different gender assignment and then embraced it and are now living how they want to live.

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I'd hazard a guess the majority of them are happier now than they might have been. I am also fairly confident they don't consider making that decision, or having parents who allow them to eventually make that decision, to be child abuse.

Unfortunately, a Chilliwack school board trustee does -- and his social-media postings have led to calls in that community for him to step down.

He hasn't resigned, but he has issued a lame apology for what he acknowledged in the original social-media post as something that might be viewed as homophobic comments.

Some might rightly say it's not really an apology for homophobia, but one directed at people who are hurt by his opinion. He certainly doesn't take back that personal viewpoint.

He needs to quit, go home and thank his god or lucky stars he was never in a position where he had to make that kind of decision.

Barry Neufeld's comments were in response to the sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) program in the province's school curriculum.

Last year, the government told all school districts to introduce the program and address it in their anti-bullying policies. It provides teachers with resources to support students and a curriculum that focuses on diversity and respecting differences.

Neufeld is not alone in his bigotry. Groups of parents in Langley and Abbotsford have spoken out in opposition to the requirement, calling it abusive to children. Kari Simpson, who speaks on behalf of Culture Guard -- a group that declares itself working for a civil responsible and just society -- has called the curriculum a dangerous agenda.

On its website, Culture Guard says it "recognizes that the political tyranny of politically correct idiotology must cease and to this end we direct our endeavours."

Yes, "idiotology."

One word speaks volumes.

For those who really like to torture themselves, delve deeper into the group's website and you will learn the SOGI program "is designed to program children to dissociate from being boys and girls -- male or female -- and to reprogram them to embrace gender fluidity free from a heteronormative society."

Culture Guard also calls SOGI fascist brainwashing of teachers and students and has submitted freedom of information requests to school districts, asking for communications and other documentation they have on the program.

The reality is SOGI is giving district staff and teachers tools to deal with the issues of gender identity if they arise during the school day. That's a good thing.

And, for those children who are now designated no gender or allowed to change their gender, there's nothing wrong with that. We need to make it easier for our younger generation to be who their brains tell them they are.

When I said at the top I don't get it, that's not quite accurate. I do get it in that if it makes sense for these younger generations, helps them live productive and happy lives, that's a good thing.

The closest I've come to that kind of decision was many years ago, when I asked one of my sons if he was gay. His siblings thought he might be, but were loathe to ask. He laughed and said no, he was just more work-focused than life-outside-the-office-focused.

Letting your child be who they want to be is not child abuse.

Letting your child be who they want to be is what we're supposed to do as parents.

When we don't, we truly fail them.

dale@kamloopsthisweek.com Twitter: @mdalebass

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