This document is part of an archive of postings on Tongue Tied, a blog hosted by Blogspot who are in turn owned by Google. The index to the archive is available here or here. Indexes to my other blogs can be located here or here. Archives do accompany my original postings but, given the animus towards conservative writing on Google and other internet institutions, their permanence is uncertain. These alternative archives help ensure a more permanent record of what I have written.

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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" -- 1st amendment

28 June 2021

Author who faced backlash from trans activists when she questioned hormone treatments for teens reveals dozens of doctors and teachers agree with her - but says they are too scared to speak out

The author of a controversial book examining the huge surge in adolescents identifying as transgender has said that she received an outpouring of private support from doctors and teachers who live in fear of backlash from trans activists if they speak publicly.

Author Abigail Shrier, whose book Irreversible Damage drew both backlash and praise last year, spoke out in a guest essay on Monday for the newsletter of former New York Times op-ed editor Bari Weiss.

In her book, named a book of the year by the Economist, Shrier investigated the surge of adolescent girls presenting with gender dysphoria and self-identifying as transgender.

She notes that in the United Kingdom, the number of such cases up are up 4,400 percent over the past decade.

The author suggested the phenomenon is due to social pressure on teen girls, comparing it to 'the Salem witch trials of the 17th Century, the nervous disorders of the 18th Century, and anorexia nervosa, repressed memory, bulimia and the self-harm contagion in the 20th Century.'

Shrier questioned the wisdom of hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery for transgender youth -- and her book was met with an onslaught of criticism from trans activists, who called it transphobic and accused her of of 'erasing' trans youth.

The author denies the allegations that she is transphobic, writing in her new essay: 'As I have stated endlessly in public interviews and in Senate testimony, I fully support medical transition for mature adults and believe that transgender individuals should live openly without fear or stigma.'

In the furor last year, Target briefly banned sales of the book, and Amazon halted a promotional campaign.

Just last week, the blog Science-Based Medicine retracted a mostly positive review of Shrier's book by a medical doctor (the review has been reprinted elsewhere).

Now Shrier reveals that she received a private outpouring of support for her book, even from unlikely quarters.

One such note came from 'a senior staffer for a popular 2020 Democratic presidential candidate,' according to Shrier.

The supporter wrote: 'It might surprise you to know that I work for a prominent progressive politician (obviously I could never express my support for your work publicly). But it should be known that not everyone on the Left has totally lost their mind.'

'Child and adult psychologists and psychiatrists write to say they have witnessed a surge in transgender identification among teen girls who seem to be acting under peer and social media influence,' wrote Shrier.

'Teachers write to say they believe that the phenomenon is plainly an example of social contagion within their classrooms. Surgeons and pediatricians and endocrinologists write to wonder aloud at what has happened to their profession,' she continued.

'Journalists at our most storied newspapers, TV networks, and literary magazines, even at NPR, write to tell me they liked my book, they agree with it, and to tut-tut the abuse directed at me,' wrote Shrier. 'They wish — wish! — they could say so publicly.'

Shrier argued that the time had come for people who agreed with the premise of her book to speak up publicly, despite their fears of being targeted by trans activists.

'The first hundred or so silent supporter emails meant the most to me. They made me feel less crazy and less alone. But the inescapable reality is that defeating this ideology will take courage,' she wrote.

'And courage is not something that can happen in private. Courage requires each one of us to speak up, publicly, for what we believe in. Even when — especially when — it carries costs.'

Shrier argued that social pressure was keeping many people silent, particularly medical doctors who have an 'obligation to do something.'

'Whether or not most people admit it, what keeps them from speaking up in the face of what they know is wrong is fear,' she wrote.

'Fear not primarily of unemployment, though that is a pressing concern, but fear of ostracism. This deep and ancient fear is behind our desperate reach for innocence and safety when we virtue signal. By contrast, we stand exposed when we speak unpopular truth,' wrote Shrier.

In a note appended to the essay, Weiss wrote that she was committed to publish 'those voices who have been shut out of so many other channels that ought to be open to them.'

'How have we gotten to the point where having conversations about important scientific and medical subjects requires such a high level of personal risk?' she wrote.

'How have we accepted a reality in which Big Tech can carry out the digital equivalent of book burnings?'


24 June 2021

Man sparks outrage on Twitter after claiming women shouldn't use the word 'vagina' because it's 'vulgar'

A man has sparked outrage online after saying women shouldn't use the word 'vagina' because it's 'vulgar.'

Eric Amunga, who goes by @Amerix on Twitter and is a reproductive medicine specialist, fat loss coach and men's health consultant based in Western Kenya, penned: 'Men, Stay away from vulgar women.'

'A feminine, respectful woman values what she speaks or writes. A woman who easily says or writes 'f***k', 'vagina', 'd**k' is a NO. Vulgar women are damaged women who come with emotional baggage. FOCUS ON YOUR LIFE.'

It wasn't long before the controversial post garnered over 11,000 likes and hundreds of comments, with many left perplexed over what women should call their intimate areas if 'vagina' wasn't considered appropriate.

Taking to Twitter, Eric penned: 'A woman who easily says or writes 'f***k', 'vagina', 'd**k' is a NO' (pictured) +3
Taking to Twitter, Eric penned: 'A woman who easily says or writes 'f***k', 'vagina', 'd**k' is a NO' (pictured)

'So how does one refer to the female parts?' questioned one woman, while a second commented: 'Vagina is vulgar?' I'm a gynaecologist. What am I supposed to call it, a pocketbook?'

A third wrote: 'Wow, have we retrograded to the Dark Ages and I didn't get the memo?'

Elsewhere, a fourth noted: 'You are a "medical specialist" in REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH or all things... and think it's vulgar to say the SCIENTIFIC NAME of a woman's reproductive organ???'

Another agreed: 'Um, "vagina" is not a curse word. It's a medical term. It is the correct name for a part of female anatomy. Why did you lump it in with the other two?'

Another sarcastically penned: 'Did not realise it was vulgar to use the correct anatomical terminology to discuss my own body.'

While at first many questioned whether Eric was being sarcastic, it wasn't long before many realised his comments were serious.

'This tweet is yet another example of fragile toxic masculinity that prefers the subjugation of women as second class citizens,' raged one, while a second commented:

'We ALL have baggage and anyone who judges for it isnt worth the time. I would rather know a woman that uses those words when they are expressing an emotion than one that uses God while lying to your face.'

However, one person defended Eric and suggested that his comment had been misinterpreted.

'Depends on what context you are saying the words. They are scientific words yes, there is now the vulgar side of it,' wrote one. 'That is what he is cautioning against. Just some decorum on the language. This is just simple to see his point of view. Who want a lady who is vulgar?'


19 June, 2021

Biden Replaces Women with 'Birthing People' in Woke 2022 Budget

President Biden's promise to "build back better" apparently also applies to "birthing people," according to the 2022 budget proposal from his administration's Office of Management and Budget.

In the section on "strengthening public health infrastructure and meeting crisis-related needs," President Biden claims his budget "reduces maternal mortality rate and ends race-based disparities in maternal mortality."

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, with an unacceptably high mortality rate for Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and other women of color. To help end this high rate of maternal mortality and race-based disparities in outcomes among birthing people—and in addition to the investment in maternal health included in the American Families Plan—the Budget includes more than $200 million to: reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates nationwide; bolster Maternal Mortality Review Committees; expand the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies program; help cities place early childhood development experts in pediatrician offices with a high percentage of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program patients; implement implicit bias training for healthcare providers; and create State pregnancy medical home programs.

Science is back, baby!

"Birthing people" (along with its related term "chest feeder") is nonsense leftist gobbledygook that's used to signal tolerance because, of course, saying that women are the exclusive source of children is exclusionary. Or something. Biology means nothing, science is out the window, and to argue otherwise makes you a terrible person, or so leftists—and exceedingly more Democrats including the President of the United States—say.

It would be interesting to see the rationale through which the Biden administration decided to begin using "birthing people" in lieu of "women" or "mothers" because the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics does not refer to women as birthing people, based on the World Health Organization's definition for maternal mortality: "the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy."

If you're woke, you might conclude that the WHO is a bunch of bigots for their backward, antiquated, but scientific definition. But the Biden administration seems to be unable to get its story straight on how to refer to those individuals who have the biological capacity to grow life.

Elsewhere in Biden's 2022 budget, the word "mother" does appear—in a section about paid family leave, no less: "Paid leave has been shown to keep mothers in the workforce, increasing labor force participation and boosting economic growth."

Because not everyone has taken a swig of the woke Koolaid, the reaction to the budget's lack of sanity drew a predictable reaction.

"Biden is erasing women," noted Dana Loesch. "Wait til they find out what mater means in Latin," added Lyndsey Fifield. The cognitive dissonance in substituting birthing people for mothers in a budget item relating to maternal statistics was highlighted by Allie Stuckey with an "L O L."


9 June 2021

A Virginia gym teacher who was suspended for objecting to two policies related to transgender students because he said they went against his religion has been ordered to be reinstated by a judge, who pointed to free speech and religious liberty in his decision

Byron Tanner Cross, 38, was suspended from Leesburg Elementary in Loudoun County, Virginia, two weeks ago, after speaking at a school board meeting on May 25.

He was arguing over two policies put in place by the public school board: one mandating teachers use the pronouns a transgender child identifies with, and one allowing transgender kids to take part in sports with the gender they identify with. The second one also allows kids to use the locker room and bathroom of the gender they identify with.

Cross, in his speech, said the policies 'defile the holy image of God' and constitute child abuse. He also cited a recent 60 Minutes where Leslie Stahl interviewed a handful of young people who had transitioned within months of seeking treatment then regretted it.

He was suspended afterwards with just about three weeks left in the school year and the school board said it was investigating his remarks.

On Tuesday, Twelfth Circuit Judge James E. Plowman ordered the school district to restore Cross' job.

'Defendants shall immediately reinstate the Plaintiff to his position as it was prior to the issuance of his suspension and remove the ban that was placed upon him from all buildings and grounds of Loudoun County Public Schools,' a letter from Plowman read.

Cross had filed a restraining order and temporary injunction, demanding his job back and asking that his views not be censored again.

The temporary injunction is set to stay in place until December 31 unless any alterations are agreed to before then.

If either side is to request a trial, the judge says they must initiate that process by June 16.

In his letter, Plowman suggested that the school district would lose a case against Cross at trial based on the merits of the case, arguing that Cross' First Amendment rights were impacted adversely.

Plowman pointed to emails the school district received in regards to Cross, saying they didn't prove Cross had disrupted the school day and that the few emails paled in comparison to the size of the school.

'[T]he Court has found … that the disruption relied upon was insufficient,' Plowman wrote.

'The Court finds that in balancing all of the factors and weighing the facts presented, the Plaintiff's interest in expressing his First Amendment speech outweigh the Defendants interest in restricting the the same,' Plowman wrote.

Five declarations were provided to the court from other school staff who felt they couldn't speak about the issue after Cross' suspension for fears of retaliation.

The judge also said, 'Upholding constitutional rights serves the public interest' in making his decision.

Loudoun County Public Schools has not commented on the ruling, but Alliance Defending Freedom - which represented Cross - celebrated the decision.

'Nobody should be punished for expressing concern about a proposed government policy, especially when the government invites comment on that policy,' ADF President and CEO Michael Farris added to Fox News.

'For that reason, we are pleased at the court’s decision to halt Loudoun County Public Schools’ retaliation against Tanner Cross while his lawsuit continues. Educators are just like everybody else — they have ideas and opinions that they should be free to express. Advocating for solutions they believe in should not cost them their jobs.'

After the ruling, Cross appeared on America Reports with his attorney to praise the decision as well.

'We're so happy,' Cross said during Tuesday's appearance. 'There were lots of tears, lots of hugs - we're just happy we were reinstated and I look forward to going back to serving Leesburg Elementary.'

Attorney Tyson Langhofer also stated that he believes Cross will retain his job beyond the injunction, repeatedly pointing to his right to speek freely as a private citizen at a public school board meeting.

Cross previously doubled down on his position on transgender rights, which he said is not in keeping with his Christian views.

He does not believe that every student or teacher in the district should have to accept his view of how best to show compassion to youth struggling with gender dysphoria, but he believes that teachers should not be compelled to say things they do not believe to be true, he said, adding that his faith teaches him using pronouns that don't correlate to a person's biological sex would be a 'lie.'

He argued in his lawsuit that kids he teaches don't have the wherewithal yet to make a decision as life changing as transitioning, and said the school shouldn't force a policy that parents might not agree with either.

'Children do not have a fully developed capacity to understand the long-term consequences of their decisions,' his lawyer said in the lawsuit.

Cross also said in his court filing that he doesn't think it's right for kids to access bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite biological sex.

He said that where possible, the school should create designated facilities for trans kids who feel like they don't belong in facilities reserved for their biological sex.

The two policies being proposed by the school district have not yet been put into place.


9 June, 2021

Monuments And Teams Have Changed Names As America Reckons With Racism. Birds Are Next

Our relationship with nature often begins with a name.

It's an introduction that tells us something about that animal, like spotted turtle, gray tree frog, or yellow-bellied sapsucker.

In many cases that creature's name is not a window into its natural history, but a remnant of our own.

But, America is trying to come to terms with its complicated racial past by changing the names of institutions, ranging from military bases to baseball teams.

Now efforts are also underway to change the names of some living monuments — birds.

When early naturalists like John James Audubon discovered a new bird, for example, they often named it after a friend or colleague.

"There's Wilson's warbler, and Swainson's warbler, and Kirtland's warbler," lists Kenn Kaufman, author of several birding field guides.

"You've got Nuttall's woodpecker, and Cassin's vireo, Cassin's auklet, and then there's Botteri's sparrow, and Bachman's sparrow," he says.

Kaufman, like many birders, hadn't paid much attention to the people behind the bird names.

That is, until last year when he learned more about that last guy on his list. "John Bachman was a Lutheran minister in South Carolina," Kaufman says. "He also fancied himself to be a scientist," says Kaufman, "and part of what he wrote about was suggesting that whites were just naturally superior to members of other races." He says Bachman's theories supported efforts to justify slavery.

"Once you start realizing that kind of thing about these historical characters," says Kaufman, "the bird names take on a more sinister tone."

It's a tone that birding activists are trying to change.

Jordan Rutter, a young birder from Washington, D.C., is co-founder of Bird Names for Birds, a group trying to make birding more inclusive by removing all eponymous bird names, that is, those named after people.

Rutter, in August 2020, petitioned the American Ornithological Society, the body that determines the names of birds, to take up the cause.

"We call these bird names verbal statues," Rutter says, "because so many of them truly are honoring folks that were involved in colonial and Confederate times."

Rutter says removing eponymous names might also reenergize efforts to protect bird habitats.

"As we have this community-wide education event to relearn the names, we can talk about the conservation need that they have."

American Ornithological Society president Mike Webster is committed to the idea.

"We want to, and will, change those bird names that need to be changed," he says.

Webster points to last year when McCown's longspur was renamed the thick-billed longspur, after it was noted that John McCown was a Confederate general. He says it reflects a new consideration for social justice concerns.

But Webster is not convinced all eponymous names need changed.

Last month, he set up an 18-member committee of ornithologists, experts, and activists o decide how to manage the process and cautions against too rapid of a switch.

He says common names, like street names, provide guidance for those navigating the scientific literature, "And if you changed the names of a quarter of the streets in a particular city overnight, that would cause chaos."

The name change movement is part of a growing awareness that bird-watching has a diversity problem.

"I feel like it's a start," says Nicole Jackson, a birder in Columbus, Ohio.

She's one of the organizers of Black Birders Week, which was first held last year after a Black birder was accosted by a white woman in Central Park.

One goal of the event is to highlight the need for safe access to nature for people of color.

"Black people are in these spaces," says Jackson, "and we need to feel like we have enough of a community that we can talk to each other and feel safe."

#BlackinNature and #SafeinNature are themes in this year's Black Birders Week.

The project is inspired by the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights movement, which traces a route for Black birders to travel through the South in pursuit of their hobby.

"As an activist in the birding community I would say that I'm seeking to decolonize the birding experience," says James says.

He says that white, colonial past has been handed down in the names of around 150 North American birds named after people.

James believes names should say something about the birds themselves and their natural history, "not glorifications of folks that would not want people like me birding today."

The renaming committee is expected to have its recommendations ready by the end of the year.


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