How would you feel if your school-aged child made a life-altering decision without your input and even without your knowledge?
Jay Keck felt helpless.
Jay’s daughter is on the autistic spectrum. She has difficulty making friends and uses a personalized education program for students with learning disabilities. Jay and his wife did everything they could to help her do well in school and to build a solid relationship with their daughter’s teachers.
That relationship went south one day in April of 2016. That’s when Jay’s daughter—who was then 14-years old—told her parents that she believed she was a boy trapped in the “wrong body.” This was a shock to Jay and his wife because their daughter had never shown any signs that she was uncomfortable as a girl.
But the real bombshell was yet to come.
Jay found out his daughter’s teachers had been affirming his daughter as a boy for months—calling her by male pronouns and a masculine name—all without his knowledge. They did this even though they were fully aware of her mental health history.
Jay and his wife met with school officials to make sure their daughter was called by her legal name. Not only was their request denied, but school officials treated them as if they were abusive parents because they didn’t want their daughter to reject her biological sex.
Jay’s story is angering and horrifying. But unfortunately, he’s not the only one.
Parents across the country are seeing their rights ignored
“Through all of this,” Jay wrote, “I’ve learned that I’m not alone. Many parents just like my wife and me are often afraid to speak out.”
Jay started the group Parents of ROGD Kids. ROGD stands for “Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria,” which is what Jay’s daughter and many other children and teenagers experience. The group is for parents whose children have been encouraged to reject their biological sex—and even given life-altering medical treatment—against their wishes.
Many public schools are already teaching children as young as kindergarteners that it is possible to change your sex. Make no mistake: this isn’t just about using someone’s preferred pronouns and allowing a child to dress as they wish. It’s about setting children on a path toward sex-reassignment surgery and taking cross-sex hormones, which are both dangerous and largely experimental. What’s more, the studies supporting such measures have been widely discredited.
And if parents are not supportive of their children going down such a dangerous path, some school officials treat them as if they are abusive. A social worker even told Jay’s daughter about a halfway house because Jay did not affirm his daughter as the opposite sex.
If “sex” is redefined in federal law, that could impact parental rights
Things could get worse before they get better.
On October 8th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in our case R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The ACLU is asking the High Court to allow a federal agency to redefine “sex” in federal law to include “gender identity.” The consequences of doing so would create chaos.
We’ve previously explained how redefining “sex” in federal law would affect the rights of law-abiding business owners who must be able to rely on what the law says. And we’ve also written about how this would affect the rights and opportunities of women and girls, especially as they pertain to women’s athletics and bodily privacy.
But what about parental rights?
Parents are the first teachers of their children. And most parents have the best interest of their children in mind. The Supreme Court has agreed with this, writing in Wisconsin v. Yoder that “this primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.”
Mr. Keck was being a good parent and relying on good science when he resisted the school’s driving his daughter down a road to taking life-altering hormones—which in the end would impact her physical and emotional development and result in permanent infertility. The school officials were wrong to interfere.
What happened to Jay could happen more frequently if “sex” is redefined to include “gender identity” in federal law. That’s why the Harris Funeral Homes case is so important: what happens in this funeral home can have a very direct impact in your school district. And that’s why we must fight for freedom in this case on October 8th.