In September 2020, January Littlejohn went to pick up her 13-year-old daughter from middle school. Littlejohn is a stay-at-home mother to three children and a licensed mental health counselor in Florida. So when her daughter informed her that the school administration had begun encouraging her to identify as transgender, Littlejohn was shocked.
Littlejohn's daughter told her that school administrators had asked her about changing her name, which restroom she wished to use, and whether she wanted to sleep with boys or girls on school trips. According to the district, parents were to be cut out of the loop unless the 13-year-old gave her consent to their involvement; the district stated that "outing a student, especially to parents, can be very dangerous to the student's health and well-being."
So, to be clear, the school would have had to phone Littlejohn for permission to administer an Advil; presumably if Littlejohn's daughter had been suffering from depression or anxiety in school, parents would have been notified as well. But the school purposefully avoided telling Littlejohn about her daughter considering whether she was a boy or a girl, and all the attendant acts toward social transition — all of which is often followed by hormone replacement or surgery. The school not only felt no duty to keep Littlejohn in the loop, but they also treated Littlejohn as an enemy to her own child.
This, indeed, is the mentality of an enormous swath of the social Left these days. Florida is now considering a bill, the Parental Rights in Education bill, that would restrict primary schools from indoctrinating children on matters of sexual orientation or gender identity and would require schools to inform parents about minors who begin identifying as LGBTQ in school. None of this should be controversial: Parents have always been and will always be the adults with the most stake in their children. It is parents who care most about their children, not school administrators; it is parents who shape the values and choices of their children.
But that's precisely what the Left hates. To the Left, parents are the enemy. Without any evidence of abuse — or even any allegations of abuse — the Left now states that forcing schools to provide transparency to parents about their children is a form of abuse. As California Gov. Gavin Newsom put it, telling schools to keep parents in the loop is "nothing short of a state-sponsored intimidation of LGBTQ children. It will put kids — who are already navigating stress — in physical and psychological danger."
The Left, instead, wishes to teach its own version of sexual morality and gender identity to small children, without the messy intervention of parents. It is indeed that simple. And, of course, this has an impact. It is designed to have an impact. There is a reason that, according to Gallup, just 0.8% of those born before 1946 identify as LGBT, and that just 2.6% of those born between 1946 and 1964 do — but that fully 20.8% of all those born between 1997 and 2003 identify as LGBT. That reason is not evolutionary biology making a radical turn, or even additional tolerance for such activity. The reason is that our society has decided that belief in traditional standards with regard to both sex and sexual activity must be fought tooth and nail. Any parent who holds to those standards must be treated as a threat — not to the children they care about far more than activists do, but to the new standard.
Now, perhaps the new standard is somehow superior to the old. If the Left wishes to make that case, they can certainly do so. But the Left does not have the right to hijack the minds of children and then weaponize them against their parents using public dollars, all the while pretending that such activity is actually altruism on behalf of children. It isn't. It's cruel to children and cruel to parents.
Ben Shapiro, 38, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show," and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers "How To Destroy America In Three Easy Steps," "The Right Side Of History," and "Bullies."