Newport, N.C.

May 19, 2023


My father was born in rural North Carolina in 1921. He was born left-handed. My grandmother, a religious woman who dearly loved her son, thought she was doing right by him when she tied his left hand behind his back, forcing him to be right-handed. She had been raised to believe that being left-handed meant you could be influenced by the devil, so she thought she was protecting her son from such a bad influence and from being ridiculed by those who would interpret his left-handedness as a sign that he was “kin to the devil.”

We now know that forcing a change in hand dominance can lead to learning disabilities, including dyslexia and difficulty in focusing when reading.

While it’s more difficult to measure the depth of psychological harm to children who’ve been made to feel the stigma of being “different” and the pressure to be like everyone else, today we know that making children feel they must conform in order to be accepted can have devastating consequences on their self-esteem.

Suppose politicians in my father’s childhood had decided that they needed to “protect” left-handed children—and their right-handed classmates—from the dangerous influences accompanying left-handedness by legally requiring that all school children be right-handed, that their teachers not be allowed to discuss left-handedness in or outside the classroom, and that any school library materials mentioning left-handedness or having left-handed characters in them be either banned outright or subject to review by a select committee of parents. Now imagine that, in such a world, you are the parent of a left-handed child.

This hypothetical situation is similar to the scenario playing out in several states, including North Carolina. In imitation of Florida’s “don’t say gay” legislation, the NC Senate passed a so-called “Parents’ Bill of Rights” in February; the NC House is currently working on a more stringent version of this bill. Both bills would place restrictions on public school instruction in sex education, especially gender identity, with the proposed House bill extending those restrictions until 12th grade. Instead of promoting the positive value of tolerance for all children, as a recent News and Observer editorial points out, “such legislation implies that certain topics—and certain communities—are ‘pornographic’ or inappropriate for children.”

Why, in the last two years, have GOP politicians decided to wage a war on these most vulnerable groups? The answer is simple: money and votes. In 2021, Glen Youngkin won the Virginia governorship mainly because he skillfully used the “straw man” tactic of convincing Virginia parents that their children would be harmed if Critical Race Theory were taught in the Virginia public schools, vowing that if he were elected governor, this would not happen on his watch. He neglected to mention that CRT had never been taught in any US public schools and there were no plans to incorporate this course into Virginia’s public school curriculum.

Although most voters couldn’t define CRT, they knew they didn’t want their kids exposed to it. So, by convincing enough voters that “they’re coming for your kids” by forcing them to learn CRT (similar to the “they’re coming for your guns” campaign waged by the NRA during Obama’s presidency), Youngkin was elected governor of Virginia.

Following Youngkin’s win, GOP political operatives across the country had an ah-HAH moment and decided they’d found a way to secure votes: just convince parents that “they’re coming for your kids” (“they’ being whatever boogeyman GOP candidates can link to their opponents), and those parents will vote for your candidate.

An added bonus is that this tactic can be used effectively to raise money for political campaigns. Just send out appeals to prospective voters, urging them to “help Candidate A save your kids from [CRT, confusion about sexual identity, or whatever] by sending your contribution today.”

It's tough enough to be a gay or trans kid without your governor and/or state legislators targeting you to make political points (and money) by using their public platforms to denounce you for being different. In the case of trans teens, some states threaten parents with punishment, including prison, if their teens are receiving gender-affirming therapy—therapy which has been approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Family Physicians, etc.

Parents of gay and trans teens want what most parents of teenagers want—to help their kids navigate the difficult teenage years and to keep them alive until they can make it past adolescence.


(17) comments


Any time folks say " ITS FOR THE CHILDREN" I become wary. The gop pushes for parents bills of rights, unless they disagree with parents decisions about what's best for their children. It is fine if you think your child should not read a book, please Don't tell me mine can't read it either.

Voltaire said, Ppl who can make you beleive absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

Targeting minorities for political gain is a tried and true tactic.


You’ve just proved an important point…most folks don’t really care what you liberal types do… just don’t force it on us. You’re also speaking of identity politics is bad… hmmm. You’ve just negated just about everything you’ve preached on here. I know I know…it only counts when it’s a like opinion.


What exactly is being forced on you? Tell us what where when why and how?

2024 elections will sure be interesting. if only there were readily available time machines so some folks could return to the 1950's when everyone was happy and life was perfect for EVERYONE.


Legislators may produce ham handed solutions but when the medical profession becomes ideologically captured by gender ideology and doggedly refuses to consider that evidence based medicine in multiple European countries is showing that these chemical and surgical body alterations lumped under the feel good label "gender affirming care" have poor long term results for children, you will have to excuse me not to take the self appointed expertise of advocates stating they know what's best for "trans kids". Advocates will tell us the mushrooming number of young people presenting as trans in the last decade are due to greater social acceptance. Never addressed are why so many of these young people are young women, when previously trans people were predominantly men who preferred to appear as a woman.

Adults should be able to do as they wish, live as they wish. But full stop on normalizing vague definitions of "gender affirming care" for young impressionable kids who might just grow out of it, or grow up to be gay adults, but are being encouraged in America, by one political party to enlist in a lifetime of being dependent on chemicals and irreversible surgeries.

This lifelong Democrat fully supports Republican efforts to shine a light on this practices, regardless of their motives, because Democratic politicians, including our Governor, refuse to discuss it.

The science is not settled, asking parents to have the right to guide talk of gender and sexuality with their young children is not unreasonable, and encouraging talk therapy for young kids confused about their gender over irreversible changes is not bigotry.

This entire issue has become inflamed by both left and right, and it's time for a serious discussion as to what is best for kids who may be in a phase of life that will change.


Gave me a rather large headache reading the whole thing. I conclude i am quite grateful I have more conventional late teen issues to deal with.

David Collins

Have to disagree with you ski . My take on this parent’s bill of rights idea is just because you have no problem exposing YOUR child to what I find to be inappropriate does not mean I am required to expose MY child as well .

Guess this leads to vouchers and school choice which would benefit everyone . Everyone other than the purveyors of what is deemed inappropriate . Plenty of time for all that muck after grade school . Let kids be kids while they can be kids . We were .


Wow thats some garbled word salad.. parents bills of rights,Book bans, anti trans legislation, school vouchers to create separate but equal enclaves of education, and don't say gay bills are all darlings of the right. As soon as fl passed the k-3rd grade don't say gay ( which i supported) the governor extended it to k-12. If you support book bans and such, clearly you are on the wrong side of history. No matter what "its for the children" nonsense you use to sell it to yourself.

David Collins

As an impressionable grade schooler , I and my siblings would duly gather before what passed for a television on Saturday morning to view the kid shows . Roy Rodgers , Gene Autry , Zorro and the like . Later in the day we would emanate , along with other neighborhood kids , what we viewed . For that brief time we were those characters . We identified ! Overtime we matured and moved on .

We did not have a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling to carry about for the rest of our lives . Thank goodness for that !

Big Fat Drunk Republican

Are we really believing the propaganda that teachers are grooming children to be gay?

I mean, I mean have any of you actually talked to teachers on this subject? I’m not saying students haven’t sought council on a range of issues from parents.

But maybe a better question is who are these parents that these kids feel that can’t talk to about these issues? Maybe that’s the bigger problem.

I’m still not seeing how schools are the place where kids go to turn into communist or change their sexual preference.

Gotta give it to right wing radio and other GOap leadership into scarring people into believing schools are the devils workshop.

David Collins

The word War stirs emotions . All part of the melodramatic approach to things these days . It often works !

Vast majority of K - 12 schools are fine . Suspect the issue arises amongst a few teachers that chose to inject their personal beliefs into teaching humanities classes of all types . Not exactly a cut and dry subject as opposed to math and the like . The relentless media , no exceptions , seizes on any conflicting views and “Ker-Pow “ a nationwide tragedy is born .

Not saying there are no rotten blueberries in the box . They are quite visible and need to be discarded before infecting the remainder .


Can anyone show me an a doll where the mere mention of folks who are different then you has hurt you? how about books on a shelf of a (largely empty) library.

As Wanda Sykes said recently in a comedy monologue " Untill a drag queen beats 8 school children to death with a copy of To kill a mockingbird, ya'll are worrying about the wrong stuff."

Big Fat Drunk Republican

Joe Biden just wants the country to pay the bills already counted up. The debt ceiling is not the budget.

Right wing radio and Fox News have always enjoyed blaming America’s financial woes on the poor.

The spending cuts in this particular GOP hostage taking were aimed at lower income families and workers.

Not saying changes don’t need to be made, but like your household budget comparison above.

What good would it be to the family to stop paying those credit card bills each.

What if along with not paying the credit card bills, the family said let’s stop paying the mortgage, car payments and stop and stop all services to the house?

If the GOP were serious about the debt, they would deal with it during the next 2 years instead of using it for grandstanding and grifting MAGAS for donations.

Just watch how silent the right wing media and these debt hounds get after the deal is done.

Buy check out their fund easing check books!

David Collins

Not twice in one issue .


Liberals like to see biological males masquerading as women or hear that men can menstruate. Well, at least Budweiser, Target, and Biden think it is great.


LOl, "Liberals like to..."

Almost 30 years ago Dolly the cloned sheep was created, had 7 lambs and died at 8 yrs old. Over 70 years ago the first transgender surgery occurred. heart transplants, face transplants Organs being grown in labs to replace worn out ones. All manner of medical miracles happen all the time with more amazing ones on the way. those are facts and reality. It is entirely possible at some point that a "biological male" will be able to have a period if thats what they want to do. that is the key point " What they want" not what you want, not what you think is right. It is not a difficult concept, let parents decide what is best for their children, let others live their lives. You worry about you. It wasn't all that long ago in this country women were burned at the stake, because of group hysteria. OVER NONSENSE.


Until the craziness no longer sells.


War on children and war on women. Both thanks to democrats. Cali already has passed a sex with minors bill. Joe, Jeffrey and hunter are just the tip of the pedo iceberg. Wake up. This is all planned out to destroy the country. They want your children,grandchildren and the flood of illegals for their sex toys. The day will come when even the blind will see. Unfortunately that day will be when one of your family is a victim.

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