These are the stories that are the source material for this entry. From the RoanokeTimes and from ABC.
This is a story about a little girl and the obsession of the right wing fundies with sex and sexual identity. It’s an example, in my opinion, of the fundagelical subculture at its very best (worst). While we’re agonizing over whether a local bakery will provide a cake for a gay wedding sectarian academies like this are doing their best to make sure their students, especially girls, “know their place” and what might happen if they dare to color outside the lines.
Her name is Sunnie. She’s being raised by her grandparents. She was enrolled in a local Christian academy as a preschooler. She’s currently in the second grade. But no longer in the “Christian” school. She preferred to wear slacks with her uniform shirt and wasn’t the only girl who did. She likes baseball cards, collects rocks and likes to go BB shooting with her grandfather. Ask if she's a girl and she'll tell you yes. When she was three she asked to have her waist length hair cut and have it donated to cancer patients. Actually I'm not sure if she asked or just got out grandma's scissors and went for it. Instead of celebrating the generosity of a little girl the folks at the school asked if she was lesbian. Remember she was three years old at the time.
Fast forward a couple of years. With an enrollment of just over four hundred from preschool to 12th grade I’m sure that the kids in first grade know who’s a girl and who’s a boy whether they’re wearing slacks or not. Anyway apparently some of the first grade girls asked if a boy was trying to use the girls’ s bathroom. That was last year.
This year she’s eight years old and in the second grade. This year some of the boys tried to force her into the boy’s bathroom. Remember what I wrote in my Everything I Needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten Entry. I guess they skipped that lesson back in Virginia. The incident “brought concerns from the school about Sunnie’s gender expression and appearance to the forefront again.” And apparently the grandparents have discussed this with her doctor. The doctor told them not to worry about it until she hits puberty. The response from the school when this information was passed on? That they should “find a Christian doctor.” WTF????????? It just keeps getting better and better.
Anyway late in February or early this month the school sent out a letter telling the family that this little girl wouldn’t be allowed to reenroll next year “unless Sunnie as well as her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity."
This is part of the text of the letter. “You’re probably aware that Timberlake Christian Schools is a religious, Bible-believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment, and we believe that our biblical role is to work in conjunction with the home to mold students to be ‘Christlike,’” Bowman’s letter reads, elaborating that her school “reserves the right” to refuse admission to students on grounds of homosexuality or alternative gender identity. “It seems that the school’s goals and biblical foundations are going to be in contradiction with the direction that Sunnie is heading at this point.”
In other words, grandparents get with the program and make sure the kid understands her place in the world. Lose the cards and the rocks. Grow out the hair and agree to be a good little girl. Make sure she understands that “you’re a girl; cut your hair and people might think you’re gay.” “You’re a girl so get used to being treated like a second class citizen.” “You’re a girl so get used to being pushed around by the boys.” “You’re a girl so get used to being objectified and judged by your appearance.” “You’re a girl so…”
And excuse me. God ordained. Yoo fuckin’ hoo. God had nothing to do with it unless you count creating a world that include eggs and sperm. A sperm carrying an X chromosome caught up with an egg carrying an X chromosome and the result was a unique little girl named Sunnie. Remember she’s been going to this school since she was in preschool. This is where most of her friends are. Instead of caving, the grandparents immediately enrolled her in public school and went public.
Naturally the school has gone into defensive mode, hired a law firm and issued a statement. They never said she couldn’t come back. Well they didn’t. Exactly. Just that she couldn’t come back until the family got with the program and made sure she understood exactly where she stands in the fundie Christian universe. Get the back of the bus girl. That’s your place. Get used to it.