By Josh Bailey, MFC Marketing and Communications Intern
“Last year my teenager got the opportunity to go to a three-week art program in Minneapolis,” related Molly Kavanaugh. “The first thing that they did on the first night together was to sit in a circle and asked what pronoun they wanted to be addressed by.” Kavanaugh described her son’s frustration as he tried to remember other students’ pronouns and his fear of offending them. This experience prompted Molly to more actively engage in the school system and to help inform others.
I reached out to Kavanaugh after she attended Minnesota Family Counsil’s press conference last week regarding a transgender Toolkit being drafted by the Minnesota Department of Education. The Toolkit serves as a pseudo “best practices” document for Minnesota schools related to transgender and gender non-conforming students. Among others, it recommends allowing mixed-sex access to changing rooms, showers, restrooms and overnight accommodations. An alarming number of recommendations within the Toolkit would violate the safety, privacy, and dignity of students as well as undermine parental rights.
A mother of seven, Molly also teaches elementary and middle school in the public school as a substitute teacher. As both a mother and teacher, Kavanaugh has both a vested interest in this problem and insight into the real situation.
Kavanaugh explained that teachers are silent and afraid, and children are confused. Teachers "are afraid to stand up for what they believe for fear of losing their jobs,” she stated. “Last Christmas,” she recalled, “they told us that we could no longer line the kids up according to boys and girls.” From talking to others, however, she expressed that the new rules are not favorably received by teachers. Kavanaugh observed, “Most of the teachers are fine saying ‘boys' and ‘girls' because the kids know! They understand!”
After listening to several stories, I asked Molly why she thought there is not greater public outcry against this shift in schools.
She shared two reasons. “First, people aren’t aware of it,” she explained. Second, she used the analogy of a frog boiling slowly in a pot. It is happening so gradually that people are not concerned. “Parents are sick of the news,” she pointed out, “We just start to tune it out and hope it takes care of itself.” However, she continued, “the other side doesn’t do that. They are very active.”
Responding to my next question about a solution, she began simply. “If people start speaking out even in their own circles, I think that would help a lot,” she asserted. In her mind the biggest obstacle to people speaking out on this issue is that they do not see others doing so. If Christians began speaking out within their circles, Molly noted that it would provide, “accountability and a support system.”
In closing Molly shared a few words of encouragement to those like herself. “Pay attention… but don’t be afraid. Have courage and look into it. If we don’t, the truth will not come out.”