Loudoun County teacher enters the woke zone
The Loudoun County School Board’s decision to place elementary school teacher Tanner Cross on administrative leave for refusing to use preferred pronouns for any transgender children in his classes has sparked a cultural firestorm, leaving many bewildered, including myself.
So, I reached out to my longtime friend, mentor, and spiritual advisor, Elmer Grapsuckle, for guidance. Elmer, gracious as ever, invited me to visit him for tea and croissants to discuss the matter.
Elmer received me with his usual geniality. After the preliminary niceties, I hastened to broach the raging debate over handling transgender children in our schools. “Elmer, you have to help me figure this all out—I’m completely at a loss over this issue.”
Elmer paused and gently touched my shoulder. “First, let me introduce you to my close friend, Ralph,” as he put his arm around nothing but air. “Uh, ummm, I’m a bit confused, Elmer,” I responded. “I … don’t see … anyone. There’s not a soul here but you and me.”
“Ralph is standing right next to me—but no worries. Very few are able to perceive Ralph visually. See, Ralph is my closest friend. We’re always together. So, when you address me, please always include Ralph. Our preferred pronouns are they, them, and y’all, since we both hail from the South.”
“But, Elmer,” I protested, “you can’t be serious? This is a joke, right?” Elmer frowned, and firmly chastened me, “How will Ralph feel if you don’t include him in our conversation, as if he weren’t even standing right here? Such rudeness is not becoming of you, and Ralph and I will not tolerate such inconsiderate behavior,” Elmer added, as he motioned toward Ralph.
“Well, if you—I mean, if y’all insist—I guess I can do that. But with all due respect, Elmer, Ralph isn’t … uh … um … real. It’s great you have a fictional friend and all, but you can’t expect other people to act like he really exists.”
Elmer’s face tightened, his anger clearly rising. “Your failure to recognize and respect Ralph, regardless of his invisibility, is solely on you and your intolerant spirit. Ralph and I have every right to be acknowledged as the inseparable friends we are, even if Ralph exists only in my head. We will accept no less, and if you’d like to remain friendly, we suggest you comply with our wishes.”
Given their adamancy, I relented. “I’m so sorry. I hope you both will accept my deepest apologies.” Elmer (and possibly Ralph) smiled and embraced me, though Ralph’s touch was hardly noticeable.
I was ready to leave, but still hadn’t gotten Elmer’s opinion on the Leesburg teacher’s refusal to accept non-biological genders.
Then it hit me: Elmer actually had made his point quite lucidly: preferred pronouns have nothing to do with reality. Accept the delusion that gender is chosen, not given, or pay a big, big price. Tanner Cross, you have entered the woke zone.
David Culver Brenner