In a column for Charisma today, conservative activist Michael Brown says he was too smart to fall for a hoax article about a middle school that “requires children to cross dress”…. but then goes ahead and cites another bogus story about transgender harassment in a Colorado school.
Apparently, an article about a Maryland school that mandates cross-dressing has gone viral, even though it came from the satirical National Report. Brown defended those who mistook the article for a real news story, calling it “a case of fiction being frighteningly close to truth.” He compared the fake Maryland school to a Wisconsin school that held a “a voluntary event that called for boys to dress like girls and girls to dress like boys” and a reported incident of a transgender girl in Colorado harassing other students in the bathroom.
But Brown fails to mention that the Colorado story was also a hoax, and the Religious Right group Brown mentions admitted that they manufactured the story. The girl who was targeted by the smear campaign was recently placed on suicide watch.
The article’s headline was absolutely shocking—“Maryland Middle School Requires Children to Cross Dress For ‘LGBTQ Appreciation Day’”—and not surprisingly, the article quickly went viral.
The good news is that it was a hoax.
The bad news is that it was so close to reality, most readers took it seriously, and it was only after I read a few paragraphs into the article that I realized it wasn’t true. This is a case of fiction being frighteningly close to the truth.
Unfortunately, there was enough in the article that sounded plausible for many people to believe every word of it, even though it got progressively outrageous.
A concerned mother sent me the link, asking if I had seen it, and when I replied that I believed it to be a hoax, she said she had initially believed it because of what she had already seen in her children’s schools. It hardly seemed over the top to her.
After all, back in May, it was reported, “Parents of students at a Wisconsin elementary school are up in arms over the theme ‘Gender Bender Day.’” Yes, “Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities in Milwaukee recently celebrated School Spirit Week with a series of events for students in kindergarten through eighth grades. … Members of the student council chose Friday as ‘Gender Bender Day,’ a voluntary event that called for boys to dress like girls and girls to dress like boys.”
This time, the story was not a hoax.
Nor was it a hoax when the Pacific Justice Institute reported last month that parents at Florence High School, “located near Colorado Springs, became irate when they learned that a teenage boy was entering girls’ bathrooms and, according to some students, even making sexually harassing comments toward girls he was encountering. When the parents confronted school officials, they were stunned to be told the boy’s rights as a self-proclaimed transgender trumped their daughters’ privacy rights. As the controversy grew, some students were threatened by school authorities with being kicked off school athletic teams or charged with hate crimes if they continued to voice concerns.”