Boys are being allowed in girls locker rooms—and schools are teaching curriculum that promotes LGBT lifestyles. This week on The Roys Report, I’ll be talking about some of these developments with Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute. Also joining me will be 2 parents from Evanston School District 202. Find out what students today are encountering in the public schools. And how parents and citizens can oppose LGBT indoctrination. Join us for The Roys Report, this Saturday morning at 11 on AM 1160 Hope for Your Life, and on Sunday night at 7 on AM 560 The Answer!
Dr. Jessica Hockett
Dr. Jessica Hockett is a 20-year education veteran, author and consultant. She and her family live in Evanston, Illinois, where her children attend public school.
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 School’s writing center in Deerfield, Illinois. Her cultural commentaries have been carried on a number of pro-family websites nationally and internationally, and Laurie has appeared on numerous radio programs across the country.
ANNOUNCER: In the midst of all of today’s noise and confusion, we need a voice that cuts through the chaos to bring wisdom and clarity. Welcome to The Roys Report with Julie Roys—an hour-long show exploring critical issues related to faith and culture from a uniquely Christian perspective. Now, here’s your host, Julie Roys.
JULIE ROYS: The LGBTQ agenda has taken over many public schools and now students, as young as five or even pre-k, are being taught about gender identities and gender fluidity. And boys, who identify as girls, are being allowed into female locker rooms and bathrooms. Welcome to the Roys report brought to you in part by Johnson University. I’m Julie Roys. And today we’re going to be discussing this alarming LGBTQ agenda in the schools and what you as parents and taxpayers can do about it. And I don’t know anywhere in the country where this agenda is more pronounced than here in my State of Illinois. The superintendent of the largest High School District in Illinois, District 211, now says that he wants to sexually integrate locker rooms and bathrooms. In other words, he wants boys and girls who identify as transgendered, to have unfettered access to whichever bathroom or locker room they choose. Meanwhile, the school serving the Chicago suburbs of Evanston and Skokie just celebrated Equity Week. During this week, pre-k and kindergarten kids read I am Jazz, a picture book about a transgender girl. And they read My Princess Boy, a picture book about a gender non-conforming boy who likes to dress in girls’ clothing. First graders made pride flags and practice gender neutral pronouns. Second graders were taught concepts like gay, lesbian and non-binary. And older students were taught about gay rights pioneer, Harvey Milk, and cross-dressing women who supposedly fought in the Civil War disguised as men. But this isn’t only happening in Illinois. Just this year, four states—New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon and Illinois—have enacted policies requiring public schools to include lessons on LGBTQ people who have contributed to society. Meanwhile, in Maryland, the Department of Education is revising its history standards for high schools to include LGBTQ related topics. Massachusetts is recommending books like I am Jazz for elementary school students and last year, it introduced an optional history unit promoting LGBTQ themes. This LGBTQ agenda is rapidly infiltrating our schools and it’s impacting our children. But what can we do about it and what should you expect if you publicly decide to oppose this agenda? Well, joining me today in studio are Julie Neely and Dr. Jessica Hockett—two parents from that school district that recently celebrated Equity Week. And their stories are both eye opening and I would say sobering. So Jessica, welcome. Glad to have you here.
DR JESSICA HOCKETT: Thank you.
JULIE ROYS: And Julie, welcome to the program.
JULIE NEELY: Very nice to be here. Thank you.
JULIE ROYS: Also joining me is Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute. She’s a cultural affairs writer there and she’s been covering LGBTQ issues for what over a decade, Laurie? A very long time.
LAURIE HIGGINS: Eleven years, yep.
JULIE ROYS: Eleven years and writes very clearly on this topic. So I’m thrilled to have you all in studio. So thank you for making the drive and being here. And I do feel like what’s happening in this Evanston-Skokie district, where they’re having Equity Week where I know Jessica and Julie where you are. This is sort of a microcosm, I would say, of what’s happening all over our country. So I kind of wanted to start with talking about that because I think a lot of people listening will be able to—one, see this might be coming to a school near you, but—two, to see what’s in store. So let me just ask you, Jessica, how did you even find out about this Equity Week? Was this something that was promoted for a long time and you knew it was coming or kind of thrown at you last minute?
DR JESSICA HOCKETT: Sure. Well, on September 24, I believe it was the Evanston-Skokie School District 65 sent out an email to parents announcing the forthcoming celebration of LGBTQ Equity Week. I think in that first full week of October, they mentioned that students would be doing some different lessons and activities. We got, at our school, an email newsletter from our principal about that as well. She gave some very brief summaries of what would be happening at each of the grade levels, but there was no link to the actual lessons. We had to request the actual lessons and so we got the link to the actual lessons. And, for my husband and I, we read all the lessons and we said to ourselves, okay, we need to opt our students out for this. And so we began the process of talking to our principal and saying, is there opt-out for this? Can we take our kids out of school? And the district’s response was no, there is no opt-out provision. We had a lawyer’s review these lessons. They do not fall under the sex education statute an Illinois School code which would afford opt-out. And so, no, there’s no opt-out provision. We took our kids out for the lessons anyway. Yeah, pick them up at school, each of them respectively, elementary and middle school and then brought them back after the lessons.
JULIE ROYS: Wow, that’s stunning.
DR. JESSICA HOCKETT: Yeah, the teachers were very accommodating. And we were treated very respectfully within the school. But the district itself would not afford any kind of recognition that the objection to the content of the lessons was understandable or okay.
JULIE ROYS: Interesting. So Julie, you also found out about this. How’d you find out? You got the same emails I’m supposing?
JULIE NEELY: Receives an email. Pretty uneventful email. Like oh, okay, that’s interesting because we knew that there had been something passed in the state. And then it was just literally like three days before it started, that week before the program is supposed to start, that the email with the link was sent home. And then as I started going through it Friday night, I was dumbfounded and alarmed and wasn’t sure what to do about this because it just seemed inappropriate, particularly at the lower grades. My children are not in the lower school any longer, but I was still troubled deeply by what I found.
JULIE ROYS: OK, so you guys, you went public a little bit with this. Right, Jessica? I mean, yeah, so your name got out there, what, not just through social media but through other avenues as well, didn’t you?
DR. JESSICA HOCKETT: Sure.
JULIE ROYS: Tell us a little bit about that and what the reaction was when your name got out there publicly.
DR JESSICA HOCKETT: So I wrote, my husband and I wrote a letter. It was an open letter. We put it in a Google doc. We sent it to other people who, we thought, maybe would be interested, particularly within our church, who had, also have children in the school district. And we said, we’re writing this letter and anybody else who wants to put their name on it as a supporter can do that. And so we had about 50 or so other parents and community members put their names on it. We sent it to the school district. And then we didn’t hear anything. I think for a couple weeks or so. We didn’t get any response or any acknowledgement that they, that the school board and administrators had received our email. And then my husband went to a school board meeting and spoke up about this. And said, you know, you haven’t even responded to our email. And only then, I think it was the next day or maybe two days after that meeting, did one school board member respond and say, oh, I didn’t see your email. It went into my junk. Which you know, that very well could have could have been the case. I don’t know that it was the case for all of the recipients. But yeah, so that’s they didn’t acknowledge necessarily our arguments as valid. They stayed the course.
JULIE ROYS: And Julie, didn’t you put something out on social media?
JULIE NEELY: I did not.
JULIE ROYS: Oh, you didn’t?
JULIE NEELY: I read many things on social media. And frankly, I was really had to think and pray quite a bit before I even signed the letter. Because what I found on social media in District 65, parent and guardian groups that were on social media, just an immense amount of hostility people were posting. There were a couple of posts. One person posted a few screen grabs and said, you know, what do you guys think about some of this curriculum that’s being, you know, proposed for our students next week? And wow, a very harsh backlash was an onslaught of just negativity. I would say, within a few hours, four to five hundred emails or messages on Facebook. Just a lot of hostility and picking apart the words that the person had used. And there was no room for any other thought other than full embracing of the curriculum and the topic.
JULIE ROYS: Very interesting because you’re watching that and you’re taking notice. So I mean, how many people sit there and see this and say, oh, well, this is what happens to somebody who speaks up. I’m just going to stay back. And but then it kind of gives the impression that everybody’s on board with this. Do you get the impression that you’re most everybody is on board or that most everybody is scared to say they’re not on board?
JULIE NEELY: No, I suspect there are people who are very hesitant to speak up. But I also know parents of all types, all walks of life, that are not necessarily Christians. I know many people who are speaking up to their principles, to their teachers and are upset about this. But whether they’re speaking out, they’re not signing the letter necessarily. I haven’t seen them at the board meetings. So but they’re speaking to their immediate teachers.
DR JESSICA HOCKETT: And we’ve spoken to teachers, too, who had grave concerns about implementing the curriculum. And I should also mention that my first, the first thing we said in the letter to the school district was you just told teachers about these lessons on September 13. That they would and it was mandated. Basically, you have to throw over anything else that you have planned. And you have to implement these lessons, which really is professionally disrespectful to the teachers and not the right way to implement any curriculum.
JULIE ROYS: Right. Well, and I know that your children, even though they weren’t a part of this program, were impacted by it. So I want to talk about that when we return from break. And I want to hear from Laurie Higgins as well—kind of giving us an overview of how this is happening around the state, around the country. Again, you’re listening to The Roys Report. I’m Julie Roys. And we will be right back after a short break.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to The Roys Report. Here’s your host, Julie Roys.
JULIE ROYS: What do you do when you discover that your kids’ schools indoctrinating them to embrace the LGBTQ agenda? Welcome back to The Roys Report. I’m Julie Roys. And today I’m talking with two parents whose children attend schools that recently celebrated Equity Week. During this week, children as young as five or even pre-k, were taught about gender identities and gender fluidity. Students made pride flags and practiced using gender neutral pronouns. And as Christians, who embrace a Biblical sexual ethic, these parents were appalled. But what do you do when the LGBTQ agenda comes to your school? How do you engage and how do you talk to your kids when they come home and they start expressing maybe errant ideas about gender and sexuality or even attitudes towards their own gender and sexuality? Well, that’s our discussion today. And if you’d like to comment, I encourage you to go to Facebook.com/ReachJulieRoys. Or you can join us on twitter. My handle is @ReachJulieRoys. Well again, joining me today is Dr. Jessica Hockett and Julie Neely, whose children attend Evanston- Skokie District 65, which just celebrated Equity Week. Also joining me is Laurie Higgins—cultural affair writer with the Illinois Family Institute. But Julie and Jessica, I wanted to ask you, before I go to Laurie and we find out a little bit more about, kind of, what’s happening around the state and around the country. I want to know how your kids were personally impacted, even though you pulled them out. Did you pull your kids out too Julie?
JULIE NEELY: I did not. I have one child in District 65. The other one is in 202. I did not.
JULIE ROYS: Okay. So your child stayed in for these lessons. You pulled them out, Jessica. But even so I’m guessing yours were still impacted. Yes, Jessica?
DR JESSICA HOCKETT: Yeah. I mean, especially my daughter is very verbal and explains all of her thinking and always tells us what’s going on at school. So she knew and so did our son. We were very upfront with them. Like, this is what the school is teaching. It’s not what we believe is right. It’s not consistent with what God says about people and who people are. And so we’re going to be taking you out as a way of, you know, standing out, standing up against this. But you know, my daughter, especially, you know, she’d come home and bring her back. And then friends would talk with her at lunch about like why are you leaving? And why are you gone? And so she came home with a lot of ideas, and really has been all year because this isn’t just a one week thing there. And the school board has said that. They’re integrating it throughout the year. And so, you know, she came home that week and was like, okay, so my friends say that, you know, that a lesbian is two women, like they love each other. But there’s different kinds of love, right? And so, we said, “Yeah, you know, God tells us, the Bible tells, there are different kinds of love.” And she was grappling with that. So, “I love my friend. Right? But does that mean . . . “ I’m like, “No, honey, that’s not what that means.” We love her questions and all kids have questions as they encounter the world and their experiences. And we want to be able to help her make sense of those things within a Biblical framework. But to have the school assume that position of teaching things related to sex and sexuality and gender and then say, “This isn’t sex education and you can’t take your kids out.” That’s an affront, as a taxpayer, honestly.
JULIE ROYS: Yeah. Julie, how about your child that’s in the school? How is he or she? I’m sorry, I don’t know which it is.
JULIE NEELY: One, I’ve been told I can’t assign a gender. But at this point I refer to him as “he.” I mean all of our hearts are just so heavy because obviously there are children in the school who do feel uncomfortable and with who they are and how they identify. And so we do want to love and care for all those people for sure. And frankly, we have LGBTQ people in our close family. So this is not a new topic for them. We’ve been discussing this since they’ve been little, little kids. And as soon as they started asking questions, we had answers for them or discussions. So how has it affected him? I think if anything it generates more conversation. And he was in the classroom for most of the presentations. And I think they varied a lot from teacher to teacher to teacher. I think some they had some autonomy in what they were teaching from . . .
JULIE ROYS: And how old is he?
JULIE NEELY: He is 12. He is in 6th grade. But he did say, last week, they have half-days first Wednesday of each week. That half day Wednesday tends to be LGBTQ curriculum. So, in his gym class, they watched a movie of transgenders around the world. So that’s, he mentioned that. And I don’t know if it really impacts him deeply. You know, he does—he’s also a talker and talks about what’s on his mind. So maybe that’s helpful. But it’s just heavy for all of us because there’s no room for conversation to dialogue with. Because we want to understand, better understand, where they’re coming from, or I do, but there’s just there’s no room for conversation dialogue. You are either fully embracing it or you are a hateful, close minded bigot. There’s no room in-between.
JULIE ROYS: And it’s tough for your kids, too. I remember my son, who’s now, he’s 26. He actually, we just had our first grandchild, which we’re totally excited about. But I remember when he was in high school, there was sex ed program, and we pulled him out and we had an alternative program that he did with us. And, you know, he was kind of the kid was the third eye. And I don’t think our kids necessarily appreciate that that much. It makes it very difficult for Christian parents because you’re in this position of do I, you know, throw them in with an agenda that I don’t agree with—where they’re going to be exposed to (I guess in high school, they’re exposed to it anyway) but you really want to be able to take that time and teach them gender and sexuality as you understand it Biblically—from a beautiful, you know, very redemptive standpoint. And instead, you’re having to pull them out, do it separately, and it’s very difficult. Laurie, you have engaged with this for a very, very long time. I know that even your kids, back when they were in school, which is how many years ago when they were at Deerfield high school?
LAURIE HIGGINS: Well, my kids are a range in age from 30 to 40. I have four of them. So, it was really not there for the first two. It started when my son was in high school, and then it was really picking up steam when my youngest was in high school. And she was affected by it because I worked in the same high school, and I was speaking out in the community, and that affected her in the school. I do think when we’re talking about the impact on our kids, we have to make a distinction, a developmental distinction. You know, if we have a junior in high school, and they’re being exposed to ideas, it’s different from if they’re starting to be exposed to it in kindergarten. And it’s that much more dangerous at the kindergarten. You know, part of the mind of a young child is if they like someone, they tend to think everything about them as good. As we get older, we start to make those distinctions. You know, you can say, well, here’s this person who has a lot of admirable qualities, but they have some really wrong ideas and engage in some really wrong acts and we can still love them. Little children—it’s like, if my teacher says something and I love my teacher, then everything she says must be right. And that’s why the left understands. We have to capture their minds and hearts when they’re very young. Much easier to capture the mind and heart of a 6-year-old, than a 16-year-old or a 26-year-old.
JULIE ROYS: Help us understand what just happened with this Equity Week and this curriculum that really is not just explaining about LGBT issues. It is celebrating and it’s teaching kids that they have to celebrate it or if they don’t, then they’re not okay. I mean, they’re bigots. They’re hateful. That kind of curriculum, how common is that right now across, you know, the whole country? I mean, is this happening everywhere? Or is it just in the really liberal districts? Because let’s face it, Evanston is one of the more liberal areas. Illinois is a more liberal state.
LAURIE HIGGINS: Well, so if we talk about the whole state, we did pass and it was signed into law by Governor Pritzker, the Inclusive Curriculum Act, which is now law which will require, it takes effect in July of 2020, will require every K through 12 school to, I will say, indoctrinate, overused perhaps but truth, indoctrinate all children with a leftist sexuality ideology. They’re requiring that the roles and contributions of homosexuals and trans-identified persons be taught to children. Well, of course, the roles and contributions of homosexuals, I’m going to leave off the trans-identifying persons, they’ve been taught for years. I mean, kids have learned who Sally Ride is or the writing of James Baldwin, or Oscar Wilde. What the differences, teachers didn’t have to say, oh, and by the way, they’re homosexual. Now, they will have to say that. And when you were talking earlier about the opting out, not only do many schools not allow you to opt out if it’s not in sex ed, and I’m talking about across the country. Once you’ve integrated it into every subject, through every year, how do you opt them out, other than pull them out of schools? So, we have these laws now in Illinois, so it’s going to come to every school. So far, they haven’t issued guidance or guidelines on how it’s to be implemented. So, a more liberal community is going to have much more of it present than a more conservative community.
JULIE ROYS: Well, again, that’s Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute. Also joining me today, two parents from a district that just celebrated Equity Week—Dr. Jessica Hockett and Julie Neely. I’m Julie Roys. You’re listening to The Roys Report. And we’re talking about this LGBTQ agenda and is it coming to a school near you? Chances are it probably is. And chances are you’re going to need to have a response. So, when we come back from break, we’re going to talk about that. How do you respond in a winsome way in a way that’s Christ honoring? We’ll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: More of The Roys Report. Once again, here’s Julie Roys.
JULIE ROYS: There’s no doubt that raising our children to embrace a Christian sexual ethic is increasingly difficult in today’s world. But what do you do when the school that your kids are attending is teaching them something that contradicts everything you believe? Welcome back to The Roys Report, brought to you in part by Judson University. I’m Julie Roys. And today we’re talking about LGBTQ indoctrination in public schools and also the impact that this LGBTQ agenda is having on kids today. Joining me to do that are two parents whose children attend schools that recently celebrated equity week. They are Dr. Jessica Hockett, and Julie Neely, and their children attend schools in the Evanston, Skokie district 65 in Illinois. Also joining me is Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute who has been reporting on LGBTQ issues for more than a decade. Although Laurie, it used to be just LGBT, and I guess I’m shortening it. Isn’t it LGBTQQIAAP? You know, I don’t know. I mean, we’ve gotten to the point where people are saying there’s an infinite number of sexualities. It’s gotten to the point where it’s, you know, frankly, from my perspective, and I think from a biblical perspective, it’s just ridiculous because God created Adam and Eve. He created two genders. And He created marriage for man and woman, to unify beautifully, wonderfully, and to reflect the Godhead in this incredible symbol. And we’ve missed it as a society. And sometimes when I think about this, I think why is it that that Christians, the one thing that’s leading to persecution of Christians is this LGBTQ agenda? I never would have guessed this 10 years ago, but when you understand gender and sexuality and that that is the one symbol that God gives us to understand his relationship with the church. You can understand why Satan might be attacking it. So, let’s talk a little bit about how we can engage in a way that won’t be hateful, but talking to you, it almost sounds like you’re . . . Is there a way any way that we can talk about this issue and it not be hateful? Laurie?
LAURIE HIGGINS: Well, there are ways that we can speak that are not hateful and that are not . . .
JULIE ROYS: Perceived hateful.
LAURIE HIGGINS: Well yeah. There is no way that we can talk about this issue with people who hold dissenting views without being perceived as hateful. And the sooner we give up that hope, the sooner we will be more proactive in doing what we should be doing. In addition, we have to be willing to be persecuted as Christ followers. And I don’t see the church being willing to.
JULIE ROYS: Well, and let me ask you about that. Both Julie and Jessica, have you felt persecuted for speaking out on this issue?
DR JESSICA HOCKETT: I mean, I expect it. I mean, we choose to live in a pretty liberal community. So, I know when we—our kids know—we have the minority viewpoint. I’m surprised that not all the Christians I know in Evanston are willing to speak out.
JULIE ROYS: It’s always a minority, I hate to say that.
DR JESSICA HOCKETT: That surprises me that the group of us that is willing to stand up and speak out is so small. So, I think that’s why I’ve been a little perplexed.
JULIE ROYS: I remember when we engaged with the school district back when we were in Stevenson School District, there were a lot of Christians there. And I heard from a lot of them. They were so glad we were speaking out, and we were doing something. But then I would ask them, “Well, why don’t you join us?” And then it was, “Well, if I do that, I’m afraid, you know, my kid might be punished, and they might get a lower grade.” And I’m like, “You know, Christians are being killed around the world.”
DR JESSICA HOCKETT: Exactly.
JULIE ROYS: I think we can get a lower grade. But anyway, Julie, have you felt persecuted? Or do you just Are you afraid?
JULIE NEELY: I’ve been fearful, for certain. I am an arts professional. And I’m fairly new—coming to faith—10 years. And so yeah, I have many close friends and colleagues who run the gamut as it does our world. And I love them all. But they may not love me back.
JULIE ROYS: And that’s something we just have to sort of embrace. I think you’re right on that. Laurie, I wanted to talk about too, we were talking about how our kids are affected. There’s this thing called rapid onset gender dysphoria. This is kind of new to me when I was reading about it. But kids are all of a sudden—what a shock—in impressionable years, hearing about there being trans identified and that they can identify whatever. And then all of a sudden, we have boys saying they think they’re girls and girls thinking they’re boys, right?
LAURIE HIGGINS: Yeah, the phenomenon called rapid onset gender dysphoria, or some people call it adolescent onset gender dysphoria is actually a phenomenon of adolescence. So, these are kids who never experienced gender dysphoria or demonstrated, you know, they weren’t . . .
JULIE ROYS: Define gender dysphoria for a second.
LAURIE HIGGINS: Gender dysphoria is the discomfort with your biological sex in essence. Now they’re trying to massage the definition a little bit to say it’s stress caused by that dissonance between your biological sex and your internal subjective sense of oneself. Gender dysphoria is a real phenomenon. And it can often emerge at very young ages—three, four years old. It’s been around for years. A very small minority of kids experience it. And it’s been historically primarily boys. Now we’re seeing an incredible explosion of adolescent girls identifying as boys or non-binary. And the phenomenon is what they’ll call a social contagion. And we are all familiar with that. We have that with anorexia—eating disorders. We see that with cutting, even. Kids will go on social media, and they will see YouTube videos of people who are talking about their trans experience. And they will say it provides a lens through which they reinterpret often normal experiences, sometimes experiences that come from being molested when they’re little. But they will instead of looking at that molestation or whatever, whatever their experience is, this provides a lens, “Ah, I feel that way because I’m actually trans.” And in England their primary gender clinic is called the Tavistock Clinic. Over the past few years. there’s been like a 4,000% increase in the number of girls who identify as trans. In fact, the Tavistock clinic has lost 35 psychologists over the past three years because these psychologists are concerned with the overdiagnosis of gender dysphoria or trans experiences and prescribing medications for that. So, this is a real phenomenon. And it needs to be addressed because we are chemically sterilizing and surgically mutilating children.
JULIE ROYS: That to me, that any chemicals or any surgical intervention would be allowed before at least the age of 18, where they’re no longer minors—I would say 21. Because, come on, up until 21, there’s so much happening. For the men, the two lobes aren’t completely fused till they’re like 26. I mean, let’s give them a chance. And we find that most of the transgender identified kids as teenagers, grow out of it. So why would we take that kind of intervention? And I’m not surprised, Laurie, that you say that there’s a rapid onset of this transgender identity among girls. Because I think in our society, being masculine is good. Masculine things are good. Feminine things are really not. And this is something where I’ve said even the feminists, they need to get on to this because basically, when they’re saying, like Gloria Steinem said, “We’re becoming the men that we wanted to marry.” What is that saying about us and how we view our own gender and sexuality that we don’t embrace and think motherhood is something worthy? Jessica, I know something happened with your daughter coming home that you kind of went “Whoa, where did this come from?” We’re going to talk about that when we come back from break. Again, I’m with Dr. Jessica Hockett and Julie Neely, two parents in District 65 that had an equity week recently. Also, Laurie Higgins from the Illinois Family Institute. I’m Julie Roys. You’re listening to The Roys Report. We will be right back after a short break.
ANNOUNCER: This is The Roys Report with Julie Roys.
JULIE ROYS: The LGBT agenda is infiltrating our schools. But how do you fight it and what do you do when you become the target of bullying because of your Christian beliefs? Welcome back to The Roys Report. I’m Julie Roys. And today we’re discussing how LGBTQ activists have taken over many schools. They’re pushing their agenda in school curriculum. And joining me are two parents who have opposed the LGBTQ agenda in their children’s schools. They are Julie Neely and Dr. Jessica Hockett. Also joining me is Laurie Higgins, cultural affairs writer with the Illinois Family Institute. And by the way, if you’re just joining the program, or you just want to hear this program again, I will be posting the complete audio to my website about an hour after the end of this program. So you just go to julieroys.com and then click on the podcast tab.
Before the break, I had talked about—or I just sort of teased something that I know happened to you, Jessica—that your daughter came home and expressed an attitude that you were, kind of like, what the heck? Where did this come from?
DR. JESSICA HOCKETT: Yeah. I’d actually been seeing bits and pieces of it over the past couple months or so. But this week on Monday, she came home and said, “How’s school?” And she’s said, “Ahh lunchtime.” And she started telling me about how some other girls were teasing her, and another girl, about being girly- girls, you know. Because they were talking about makeup or other things, you know, that are a little young for third grade. But she said, “Yeah, there’s, they’re just they’re making fun of us because they say we’re girly girls and I just because I like lip gloss. And, you know, I told them my mom wears lip gloss, too. And she’s not a girly girl and I want to stand up for my friend but I know they’re going to make fun of me, too.” And so it just, it struck me and then she connected it back to a lesson they did at the very beginning of the year about, you know, boys can wear makeup and she was making those connections. I had no idea about that lesson but she’s really working through, you could tell grappling with this. Hey, what does it mean to be a girl in a way that I don’t think a third grader should even have to confront and think about? And it’s like she’s now almost, I won’t say bullied, but now having to deal with teasing based on some things that are being done that are supposed to prevent that. It’s like a different kind of bullying to me. And then I’ll just mention really quick. I did notice, too, in her school, that this week that there’s a series of posters up. And one of them talks about being, I think, transgender affirming. And it says on it, “everybody has the right to choose their own gender by listening to their own heart and mind—everyone gets to choose if they were a girl or boy or both, or neither or something else, and no one gets to choose for them.” And so we’re trying to weigh about how to, you know, push back against and fight against that poster. But, you know, this is what she’s being told, you know—indoctrinated with at school.
JULIE ROYS: And people who say that public schools are religiously neutral are completely off base because that—right in that document, you know, in that poster is a worldview. And that is that you define reality. Anything you think becomes reality. And there is not a transcendent God, to Whom we have to look to truth. There is no truth outside of ourselves. It’s all inside of ourselves. And it just drives me crazy that they’re allowed to do that in the public school. That they’re allowed to push a worldview. But then at the same time, I have to admit that you can’t really have, you can’t teach unless you’re teaching from a foundation of a worldview. So, we have to pick some. So, when they pulled Christianity out of the public schools, they had to replace it. And they have replaced it with, honestly, a worldview that’s very postmodern that says you define reality. And in even that matter doesn’t matter because our bodies don’t matter. They don’t speak to us. They don’t say anything. As Nancy Pearcey writes, they’ve taken the megaphone which should go from our bodies to us. And it should speak to us, right? Instead, we’ve turned the megaphone around and we’re speaking to our bodies and telling it what it is. It is, in some ways, the original sin because we want prideful—we want to define things. So the question becomes, then, you know, and as I’m discussing with you, and I think a lot of us have realized that, you know. I pulled my kids out of the public schools and put them in private schools. That has its whole other set of issues. But I just, it’s very difficult. Is that what we do? Do we pull them out? And then people say, well, you’re not salt and light. Although, I’m like, well, you know, I’m not raising missionaries right now. I’m raising children that are not—they’re not formed yet. And we don’t ask our children to go out on a mission field yet. So, you know, let me throw that to you, Julie. You’ve had, this is your third child to come up through the public schools, right?
JULIE NEELY: I have two.
JULIE ROYS: Oh, I’m sorry, two—your second child. I just gave you another child.
JULIE NEELY: Thank you. Yeah, I’m blessed. My youngest son will be thrilled.
JULIE ROYS: (Laughter) But you’re saying we’re going to stay the course.
JULIE NEELY: They would love to be homeschooled. I’ve been told that a new number of times over the years. But we have many homeschoolers in our family and in our community. But I don’t see it now. I would be open to it if I saw things in an impact on them that truly was troubling that couldn’t be countered. I mean, this is all troubling. Don’t get me wrong. But if there’s a personal impact, if it’s, you know, some of the things that Jessica’s describing then I would give more pause and pray more about that topic.
JULIE ROYS: Although, I have found in raising three kids that often by the time I find out about it, it’s pretty far gone. But let me throw that to you, Laurie. What do you think on the whole, pulling kids out of school? I mean, you write about what’s happening in the public schools all the time. I know you want parents to be involved, go to the school board meetings, do stuff. I remember it was in South Carolina—the woman who was elected to be in charge of the Education Department for, I think it was South Carolina, was actually a homeschool mom, which made a huge bunch of news maybe about 10 years ago. Do you remember that?
LAURIE HIGGINS: I don’t remember that.
JULIE ROYS: But you don’t have to. Here’s the thing. You don’t have to actually even be in the schools to be engaged politically.
LAURIE HIGGINS: No, you don’t. You don’t even have to have kids in the school in order to serve on a school board. There’s many people whose kids have grown up and they serve on the school board. I used to say, I mean, I do think we have to be involved with our schools. It’s a stewardship issue. Our taxes are paying for people to teach this garbage to our kids. But once they sexually integrate restrooms and locker rooms, I don’t think that Christians should have their kids in public schools. As you said, I mean, you were speaking to me here when you said our kids aren’t missionaries. Missionaries don’t go out into the mission field until they’re spiritually mature and specifically equipped to deal with the culture in which they’re going—toward which they’re going. So our kids, I mean, you were talking about, you know, Jessica, what your daughter came home, having to defend at school. They can’t understand these concepts yet. She shouldn’t have to defend. I mean, the reason she’s a girl is because she’s biologically a girl. It’s not—our sex is not determined by what our tastes and clothing or makeup are. Which is the hypocrisy and incoherence of the leftist ideology—is they say, oh, our social conventions are stereotypes are socially constructed and arbitrary. And yet they define our existence as male or female. It’s completely incoherent. But I think, now, Christians really have to be, you know, you say, it seems like everything’s okay with our kids. But as you were saying, Julie, sometimes we don’t find that until they’re in college or out of college. We have the impact. If we can’t go to a school board meeting, or be on social media because we, as adults, don’t want to experience the wrath of the tolerant, how can we expect our kids to? If they go through elementary school, middle school, every day they’re barraged by these ideas from their teachers— from posters on walls, from policy about bathrooms. And then we expect them to come out unscathed. It’s not going to happen. And these policies, these bathroom and locker room policies are teaching children that biological sex is irrelevant to modesty and privacy. It’s teaching them that in order to be compassionate and loving, they have to relinquish their own physical privacy where they undress and go to the bathroom. It’s outrageous.
DR. JESSICA HOCKETT: Right. I mean, we don’t let our daughter change in front of our 12-year-old son. I don’t—or vice versa, right? Like we practice modesty at home. I don’t know why it should be okay for her at school . . .
LAURIE HIGGINS: Undermined at school.
DR. JESSICA HOCKETT: Right. Exactly. Undermined.
LAURIE HIGGINS: Because I have people, trans-identifying people and others on the left, who’ll email and they’ll say, “Oh, will you share bathrooms in your—you only have one bathroom in your home or two bathrooms?”
JULIE ROYS: Not at the same time.
LAURIE HIGGINS: Yeah. And I’ll say, “Kids start on their own naturally—at like 6, 7, 8 years old—they’ll start saying to their sisters, the sons will, “Get out of here.” You know, they don’t take baths together. They don’t undress in front of each other. And for most kids that starts to develop naturally. We cultivate it and encourage it because it’s a good thing. So, I don’t think, I don’t see how—but here’s the deal. Many parents are unable for a number of reasons to homeschool and can’t afford private school, existing private schools, especially if they have multiple kids. So, churches have to either create affordable schools or make funds available that any parishioner who wants to get their kids out of these public schools can be able to do it.
JULIE ROYS: And how many schools or how many churches are doing that?
LAURIE HIGGINS: Very few. Doug Wilson does it. His church does it in Idaho. We had him out and he said any parishioner that comes—they have their own school, their Logos School—but any parent who wants out of the public school, the church makes it happen.
JULIE ROYS: Wow. Well, let’s talk just briefly about some of the legislative recourse that people do have. I mean, if you’re in a school district, like I mentioned District 211, here in Illinois, we have a superintendent who wants to integrate the public or the bathrooms in his school and the locker rooms. This seems like one of those that we should be able to fight. I mean, is this something that is just a foregone conclusion, or is this something where we can say, “This is a little ridiculous?” There’re safety issues involved here. And we were even talking about a person who’s been raped—imagine if you’ve been raped—the trauma of being in a locker room and then hearing a male voice.
LAURIE HIGGINS: Right. No. Well, I do think that they could stop the policy if every theologically Orthodox Christian in District 211 showed up at that school board meeting and spoke as if they believe their beliefs were true. We often—Christians speak self-consciously and ashamed about our views. And we shouldn’t. I mean, these are true and that means speaking boldly, not disrespectfully but with the same kind of boldness and confidence that the left expresses their views. They should be able to change that policy in that school district. But it isn’t enough people. And you know, the schools, often, will bring in outside representatives from outside organizations, like Equality Illinois and the Human Rights Campaign and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, to come in and formulate their policy and push this. And have people come to these local school board meetings. I wrote an article on—was it District to 211? Oh, the school board meeting, that they had, all this outside money from trans-activists including one of the Wachowski brothers—you know, who did Matrix— poured $10,000 into his local school board election here in Illinois in order to transform the complexion of the school board. So that’s what we’re faced with.
JULIE ROYS: Well, and Julie, you were saying how initially you were scared, but you went to a board meeting. You spoke up. What was that like?
JULIE NEELY: It took a couple meetings. I went—the first one and yeah, yes, I did speak up and definitely was fearful.
JULIE ROYS: You did it.
JULIE NEELY: But I felt so internally drawn like I have to speak. And I do believe that a lot of this curriculum is harmful to young children. So, I have to speak.
JULIE ROYS: So, you spoke according to your convictions. And I’m just thinking II Timothy 4:2 & 3 says, “Preach the word. Be prepared in season and out of season. Correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Friends, that’s the culture we’re living in right now. But we need to speak up. We need to say what is the truth. To do it, as it says, with patience, with careful instruction. But if we don’t do it, who’s going to do it? We are to be salt and light. And if there’s ever a time where we can be light in the darkness, it’s now. It’s when the darkness is great. So, I just really encourage you. Speak up. Resist a godless agenda but do so with patience and love. Turn the other cheek. Don’t return insults, but don’t back down either. And again, my thanks to Laurie Higgins from the Illinois Family Institute, Julie Neely, Dr. Jessica Hockett. So appreciate you being with us today. And just a reminder, if you missed any part of this show, or just want to listen again, go to julieroys.com. We’ll have that podcast posted within the next hour. Hope you have a great weekend and God bless.