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Agreeing to Disagree
For FAIR’s Substack, Kate Johnson writes about how LGBT and religious students can (and should) be able to coexist in public schools.
Public schools should be universally welcoming in a neutral way. There is an argument to be made that pride events in school, as long as they remain age-appropriate, are in the best interest of gay kids from homes that will reject them on the basis of their sexual orientation. Why? Because if they are raised in religious enclaves where gay people are invisible in some cases and viscerally condemned in others, they will have no hope of inclusion in that environment and no hope of discovering who they are as they grow into adults. It is also true that we should take care not to chase conservative religious families out of the school system with overweening pride events, as that will further isolate those children. I believe there is a way for LGBT students and straight/religious students to coexist and, perhaps, even learn from one another.
Social Transition: Should We Change Names and Pronouns?
For her Substack, BROADview, FAIR Advisor Lisa Selin Davis has published an excerpt from When Kids Say They’re Trans by Sasha Ayad, Lisa Marchiano and Stella O’Malley.
Sasha Ayad, Lisa Marchiano and Stella O’Malley are among the most important voices in the movement to properly treat kids with gender dysphoria—and they were willing to speak out long before there was any infrastructure to help people do so. Now they have a new book out, When Kids Say They’re Trans, to help parents navigate the world that unfolds when a child declares a new gender identity or is diagnosed—or self-diagnoses—with gender dysphoria. (Full disclosure, there’s a short piece from me in there, too!)
In addition, they’re offering workshops for parents. Another full disclosure: I’ve been to two of their workshops, despite not being a parent of a trans or gender dysphoric kid [so far]. As I explained on this episode of Benjamin Boyce’s Calmversations podcast that I recorded with Sasha and two ROGD moms, I’ve found in-person communing with others whose lives have been affected by—for lack of a better term—gender identity ideology to be invaluable. Being with parents, bearing witness to their stories, has fueled me to try harder to get the truth out, and parents have gathered much-needed strength and information in these workshops and retreats.
I’ve interviewed a lot of kids and parents about social transition—and I’m sorry for not writing it all up yet, but those interviews were amazing, and I’m excited to share soon. It’s an under-researched and misunderstood psychological intervention. Below is an excerpt from the book about it that I’m delighted to share with you all.
Bringing Back the Truth
For the Jewish Journal, David Suissa writes about how as more and more colleges across the country are putting DEI and “safetyism” ahead of the pursuit of truth, the new University of Austin (UATX) is going in the other direction.
But for all these valiant if scattered efforts to revive academia’s true purpose within entrenched DEI bureaucracies, you can’t beat the real thing: building a new university from scratch.
This is what a group of free speech warriors decided to do in 2021, when they announced the creation of the University of Austin (UATX) dedicated to, yes, the fearless pursuit of truth.
This commitment, as it says on its website, arises from its “confidence that the nature of reality can be discerned, albeit incompletely, by those who seek to understand it, and from our belief that the quest to know, though unending, is an ennobling, liberating, and productive endeavor.” UATX also promises it “will remain independent of any political, religious, or other external interest groups.”
Adam Driver shouldn’t play Enzo Ferrari? I am tired of reductive identity politics
For the Evening Standard, Tomiwa Owolade writes about the controversy around Adam Driver being cast to play Enzo Ferrari.
But solely looking at a person tells you nothing about their national or ethnic background. Someone that looks exactly like Driver could be Italian, someone that looks exactly like Freeman could be South African.
Bradley Cooper’s upcoming portrayal of Leonard Bernstein complicates this. Cooper wore a prosthetic nose in his film about the Jewish composer, and this plays into dangerous stereotypes about hook-nosed Jews. But in theory a non-Jewish person should be able to play a Jewish character.
David Baddiel has criticised the casting of Cillian Murphy to play J. Robert Oppenheimer and Helen Mirren to play Golda Meir. He argues it is punching down for non-Jews to play Jews. It is like a white person putting on blackface. It is Jewface. This forms part of Baddiel’s critique of contemporary identity politics: it does not include Jews in its list of victimised groups. But the problem with identity politics is not that whether it includes Jewish people. It is that it is reductive and divisive.
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