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“Legally speaking, there is not a boy in that room.”

“Legally speaking, there is not a boy in that room.”

Posted by Ed Folsom, January 15, 2024.

The quote is from a news story in today’s Portland Press Herald (Maine).

Maine School Administration District 11 (MSAD 11) serves the Gardiner, Maine area. The District has adopted a policy on transgender and “gender expansive students,” described as follows:

“The rules require school staff to use students’ chosen names and pronouns, [and] allow students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that most closely match their gender identity…The policy also prohibits administrators from discussing a student’s gender identity with their parents without first notifying the student, in order ‘to avoid inadvertently putting the student at risk’ if they have not come out to their family.’”

The story explains that, at a January 4 meeting at which the MSAD 11 school board discussed the policy and parental concerns, board member Jeff Hanley called the policy “insane.” Hanley reported receiving an email from a parent who was concerned about a transgender student using the same bathroom as the parent’s female child.

Just as it is necessary to decipher around the obligatory use of the plural “they” and “their” to refer to each individual person in all news accounts on this topic, it is also necessary to read between the lines, to determine what sex “assigned at birth” any given transgender or “gender expansive person” at issue might be.

It appears that the parent who emailed Hanley was concerned about a phenomenon that parents back in the caveman days of yore, say 10 years ago, were freely allowed to describe in terms of boys being invited to use the same bathroom and/or locker room as their young daughters. Yes, “boys”… You must remember when the term encompassed all those persons whose “gender assigned at birth” (“assigned” by a doctor, who we are now told must have been entirely mistaken of course) is male.

Although the Press Herald carefully avoids coming right out and telling us that the parent in question actually used caveman vernacular in the email to Hanley, that must be what happened. I know it because here is what MSAD board member Jack Pitteroff said in response:

“Our bathrooms, as well as every other inch of the school building, are supposed to be a safe place for students. So, if students are experiencing something that is making them feel unsafe, they should go to the administration. And for the young women of our district, legally speaking, there is not a boy in that room.” (emphasis mine)

Get it, young women of the district? Legally speaking, there is not a boy in that bathroom or locker room with you. It’s your imagination. If you feel uncomfortable, you should definitely go to the administration. All efforts will be made to align your mind with the policy zeitgeist. Perhaps the administration can do some contact tracing, to find out where your thoughts in conflict with law came from. The source would also benefit from an alignment of thought with law, until everyone comes to understand that – say it after Jack Pitteroff – “There are no boys in that room!”

And on a totally unrelated topic, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley recently posted a piece about the criminal prosecution of a politician in Finland for quoting the bible. According to Turley, Päivi Räsänen who is a medical doctor, a member of Parliament, a former leader of the Christian Democrat Party, and a former interior minister was prosecuted by the public prosecutor of Finland for a post she put up on Twitter and Facebook in 2019. In it, she criticized her church’s sponsorship of a LGBT pride event, questioning how it was compatible with the Bible, linking an Instagram post containing the biblical passage, Romans 1:24-27. For this, according to Turley, Räsänen was prosecuted for “hate speech” under a law dealing with “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

In 2022, Räsänen was unanimously acquitted by the District Court of Helsinki, who reasoned that it was not their place to interpret biblical concepts. The prosecutor appealed to the Helsinki Court of Appeal and lost unanimously. Now the prosecutor is appealing to the Supreme Court of Finland. Turley is concerned that the Finnish prosecutor’s obsessive compulsion provides “a glimpse of the slippery slope that awaits this country if our own anti-free speech movement takes hold.” Not that we have any politically obsessed prosecutors here, mind you.

Which brings me to another matter related to the reality denial insisted upon by officialdom in the first story and the coercive governmental control of language involved in both stories. Here’s another Vaclav Havel vignette: In 1983, shortly after the Czechoslovakian “dissident” was released from a 4 ½ year prison sentence for subversion, for speech of which, legally speaking, the Communist government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic disapproved, Havel did an interview with a French Journalist in which the following exchange occurred:

Journalist: Czechoslovakian officials claim that in their country people do not go to jail for their views.

Havel: No, not for their views, only for expressing them. But what kind of view is it that does not get expressed? Surely it only becomes a view when it finds expression.

Havel made these comments in a time and place when, if the powers-that-be said there were no boys in the room there were no boys in the room, whether there were boys in the room or not. Allowing that all things are the same except to the degree they are different and that all things are different except to the degree they are the same,* the parallels between Havel’s time and place, behind the Iron Curtain, and our own, grow closer with each passing day.

Dirigo, is it?


*It is not my original observation, but I cannot for the life of me recall the source for attribution.