Gender-Confused Committee Member Vilifies Aurora Faith Community
Gender-Confused Committee Member Vilifies Aurora Faith Community
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   12.06.12

On Thursday, Nov. 29, at the second meeting of the East Aurora High School ad hoc committee formed to revisit the possibility of establishing policy regarding students who experience gender confusion, over 120 people showed up, including approximately 10 pastors and 15 chaplains.

Most of these community members were Hispanic as were the faith leaders who serve the Aurora community. Almost all of the 120 people opposed such policy. Over 20 people, including a high school student, voiced their opposition to any policy that would permit boys and girls to use the restrooms and locker rooms designated for those of the opposite sex. And they expressed their views with unapologetic, unself-conscious, bold, and impassioned conviction, often with the help of a translator.

In contrast to their respectful tone, the two attendees who spoke in support of such policy—neither of whom live in Aurora and one of whom identifies as “transsexual”—were by multiple accounts condescending and rude.

After the meeting, one of the gender-confused non-community members who serves on the ad hoc committee sent the following offensive email to the entire committee, which he also asked to be shared with the school board. This disturbing email alone should suffice to disqualify him from serving on any school committee (emphasis added):

Dear Fellow Ad Hoc Committee Members,

One of the nice things about being in business for myself is that I enjoy the freedom to speak my mind without fear of having my employment terminated or other negative repercussions. I was invited to serve on the Ad Hoc Committee and have every intention of continuing to do so. But I cannot go through an experience like last Thursday night’s meeting without saying what I need to say about it. I didn’t speak up at the meeting only because I understand and respect Robert’s Rules of Order and the process by which governmental and quasi-governmental bodies operate.

Never have I seen so many people gathered in one place so determined to display their own ignorance, bigotry, and mean-spiritedness. I should not have been surprised because the protest was organized by the Illinois Family Institute, which has been certified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Beacon News had a photograph of David Norck of the Illinois Family Institute assisting the protestors. It would be like having the Ku Klux Klan come to a meeting of a committee whose work was to craft a policy for racial integration.

We had speakers tell us that transgender people have “twisted minds” and are “gender confused”. My favorite part of the evening was when a speaker, who for some reason was allowed to stand behind my chair for the entire meeting in an intimidating posture, pointed his pen at me, and told the assembled throng that I was there to “push my lifestyle” on the children of East Aurora. This same person had never met me before that evening; doesn’t know anything about my “lifestyle”; doesn’t know if I spend my free time with my children, in the library, out clubbing, or at church; and knows nothing about me other than the fact that I am transgender. Because he knows nothing about me other than the fact that I am transgender and feels justified in attacking my “lifestlye”, he is nothing but a hate-filled ignorant bigotIt is no different from making assumptions about a person’s “lifestyle” because they are black or Hispanic.

We heard a lot of talk about putting girls in the boys’ bathroom and boys in the girl’s bathroom. But the only people at the meeting who want to put girls in the boys’ bathroom are the people who want to force transsexual girls into the boys’ bathroom where their identity, comfort, and safety will be compromised.

I was disappointed not to have had an opportunity to speak out at the meeting, and to have to listen to ninety minutes of transphobic diatribes.

We cannot let a certified hate group prevent the Ad Hoc Committee from having its dialogue, proposing policy, and taking a vote. We don’t have mob rule; we have a democracy. And while the First Amendment certainly protects every one, including bigots (the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the American Nazi Party to march in Skokie), reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions may be imposed on the right of public comment so that government bodies and quasi-government bodies can do the work that they are charged to do. It is my suggestion that we, as a Committee, or the School Board, itself, adopt reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on public comment so that the Committee can do its work.

This letter will be an open letter which I post on my blog.

Joanie Rae Wimmer

This remarkable letter calls for some remarks:

  1. It should take Aurora community members aback to learn that someone who is not a community member is being allowed to serve on a non-elected committee that will be developing and voting on policy for their school. The Aurora community should demand to know who invited Wimmer and every other non-community member (e.g., Rick Garcia and Sara Schriber) to serve on the committee.
  2. The community should be outraged that Wimmer seeks to limit the capacity of community members with whom he disagrees to express their opinions.
  3. Adding insult to injury, Mr. Wimmer calls community members and other attendees with whom he disagrees ignorant, mean-spirited, hate-filled bigots who are the equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan. Does anyone think a conservative community member—let alone an outsider—who hurls epithets like that would ever be included on this committee?
  4. Wimmer’s anger reveals how self-righteous and presumptuous homosexual and gender-confused activists have become from years of being coddled, wooed, apologized to, and deferred to. When they encounter public dissent from their assumptions about homosexuality and gender dysphoria expressed with the same certitude that they express theirs, they respond with rage and incivility.
  5. Mr. Wimmer attributes “mean-spiritedness” to his ideological opponents. It is appropriate for compassionate people to feel sympathy for those who suffer from gender dysphoria. We should have sympathy for the pain that such obsessive thoughts about one’s sex and the compulsive acts that are impelled by these thoughts create. But compassion does not require people to accept Wimmer’s beliefs about what constitutes gender or about the morality of cross-dressing and elective amputations of healthy body parts.Further, once he brings his non-factual ontological and moral views into the public square, demanding that public policy and laws reflect them, it is ethical and critically important for conservatives to express their dissenting views.No one argues that compassion requires society to affirm the beliefs and desires of those who suffer from a similar disorder: Body Integrity Identity Disorder (i.e., who identify with amputees, desire to have limbs amputated, and often pretend to be amputees). Compassion and kindness do not require conservatives to deny reality or censor their competing views regarding truth and morality. Quite the contrary. Compassion demands that our actions reflect truth, morality, and objective reality.
  6. Homosexual and “transgender” activists have cleverly constructed a rhetorical universe in which only they are permitted to speak. They simply assert that their subjective, non-factual beliefs about homosexuality and gender dysphoria are inarguably true and central to their identity and that all dissenting views are hateful, ignorant, mean-spirited bigotry that make them feel “unsafe.” Therefore, because they feel“unsafe” if they hear views with which they disagree, such views must not be permitted to be spoken or reflected in policy or law.I would argue that if Mr. Wimmer finds it too hurtful to hear dissenting views about gender dysphoria, then perhaps he shouldn’t venture into the public square demanding that public policy reflect his.
  7. Mr. Wimmer is incorrect when he compares conservative views of homosexuality to racism, which he does when he suggests that allowing conservatives to speak at ad hoc committee meetings or serve on the committee is equivalent to having a racist serve on committee to establish policy on racial discrimination. Wimmer went so far as to defame one attendee, David Norck (who is not an employee of IFI), by calling him the equivalent of Ku Klux Klansman. Wimmer’s suggestion is both offensive and wrong.

    First, gender dysphoria is utterly different from race. While race, or perhaps more accurately skin-color, is 100% heritable and does not impel any kind of behavior, let alone morally questionable behavior, gender dysphoria is constituted by subjective feelings and impels behavior that many consider profoundly disordered. There are no points of correspondence between these two conditions, and, therefore, his analogy fails.Second, most people who believe that cross-dressing and elective amputations of healthy body parts are unhealthy, perverse responses to disordered thinking do not hate those who suffer from gender dysphoria.

  8. Does Wimmer have any evidence that those who believe differently than he does about gender dysphoria hate those who suffer from it? And does Wimmer have any evidence to justify his implicit comparison of gender dysphoria to race?As discussed earlier, it makes more sense to compare gender dysphoria to Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Should someone who suffers from Body Integrity Identity Disorder serve on a committee formed to create policy on the use of school elevators intended for use by injured or disabled students?
  9. We have exalted social science to some unjustifiable position as the ultimate arbiter of truth, reality, and morality. Even if the majority of mental health professionals were to conclude that the desire to be the opposite sex constitutes a healthy and normative mental state and that achieving “congruence” between one’s self-perception/desires and one’s “presentation” through elective amputation of healthy body parts and cross-dressing  is proper and good doesn’t make those conclusions true. History is littered with the detritus of psychosocial theories once accepted as gospel truth.
  10. Wimmer takes umbrage at one community member’s reference to his “lifestyle,” fulminating that this person knows nothing about Wimmer’s lifestyle. I’m not sure if Wimmer is being deceitful or obtuse, but clearly this person was referring to the only relevant aspect of Wimmer’s lifestyle: his cross-dressing and elective amputation of healthy body parts, both of which Wimmer has made public. In fact, Wimmer is serving on this committee in order to advance his non-factual beliefs about these aspects of his lifestyle.
  11. Wimmer uses the terms “transphobic,” which denotes irrational fear, and “hate-filled” to malign those who disagree with him about gender dysphoria. Does Wimmer believe that all expressions of moral disapproval about volitional behavior constitute fear or hatred , or is it just the expression of beliefs with which he disagrees that are “phobic” and hateful?The most hate-filled language I’ve come across in any reports about the East Aurora controversy appears in Wimmer’s invective.
  12. Wimmer criticizes Aurora community members “who want to force transsexual girls into the boys’ bathroom.” “Transsexual girls” are, in reality, boys. Wimmer treats as indisputable fact his non-factual belief that boys who suffer from gender dsyphoria are actually girls and arrogantly suggests that no one has the right to any other beliefs about gender.
  13. One final and less significant comment: Wimmer twice refers to IFI as a Southern Poverty Law Center-“certified” hate group. If this designation were not so malignant, Wimmer’s comment would be funny. Wimmer, an attorney, might spend some time researching the SPLC’s “certification” process. In short, the SPLC decided which organizations espouse views on sexuality with which the SPLC disagrees, placed those groups on its hate groups list, and then after-the-fact invented criteria that would justify their inclusion. There is no certification process.

The kind of radical sexuality activism that East Aurora High School has encountered will come to every elementary, middle, and high school in the country. Let’s hope that every community has men and women as courageous as the men and women in Aurora—including faith leaders. Right now the picture looks bleak on the courage front, but maybe the actions of these Aurora community members will inspire others to follow their lead.

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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High...
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