Local advocate wants parents to know what’s at stake with transgender ideology

| Jonathan Liedl | September 29, 2017 | 46 Comments

Editor’s note: This story accompanies “Switching sexes: transgender ideology and the Church”

Last year, Emily Zinos led a group of parents’ efforts to prevent what she sees as a false gender ideology infiltrate her children’s St. Paul public charter school.

In the end, she lost the battle, but she hasn’t given up the cause. The already busy mother of seven is now an outspoken advocate against schools normalizing transgenderism in children, and she wants to help other parents understand the threat and respond effectively when they encounter it in their own communities.

“Though I can think of many people who are far more talented and equipped to answer the challenges of gender ideology, for some reason God keeps on asking me to act,” said Zinos, who attends Holy Family in St. Louis Park with her family.

After speaking out against the adoption of a distorted gender theory at Nova Classical Academy, Zinos was asked by the Colorado-based Family Policy Alliance to help with a project called Ask Me First. The initiative encourages women to share their objections to laws and policies that force them to share their private spaces with biological men.

The project’s testimonies bring up the issue of fairness in high school sports, especially when female-identifying-boys are competing against biological girls in individual competitions such as track, as well concerns that the expansion of the definition of “sex” in Title IX to include “gender identity” diminishes protections for women in U.S. civil rights laws.

Zinos began working with Ask Me First in summer 2016 and is now the grassroots coordinator of the project’s Minnesota chapter. She spoke this summer at a press conference opposing a gender identity toolkit that was under consideration — and subsequently approved — by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Despite that setback, she thinks the initiative can still make a difference.

“My hope is that the Ask Me First project will make people aware of what’s at stake when sex is redefined as gender identity and that they’ll be compelled to speak up,” she said.

Zinos has also worked closely with the Hands Across the Aisle Coalition, which brings together a diverse group of women, from conservative Christians to radical feminists, united in their opposition to biological sex being redefined as “gender identity.”

She has also used the power of the pen to raise awareness of the threat of transgender ideology, writing articles on her experience at Nova Academy and on transgender ideology for publications including First Things, Public Discourse and The Federalist.

As a mostly stay-at-home mom for the past 20 years, Zinos says she would’ve “never guessed” that she’d be an involved advocate on such a contentious issue as transgenderism. Still, she’s always been passionate about causes she cares about. And while important causes like the pro-life movement have many talented people on the frontlines, she says gender ideology “is another story.”

“The problem is ubiquitous, but hardly anyone feels ready to take it on,” she said.

Zinos’ advocacy hasn’t come without its trials. She’s endured public mockery, and says she’s lost friendships because of her views. Even so, she said it’s been an opportunity to grow closer to Christ crucified and build new relationships.

What’s more, the threat of transgender ideology to youth and vulnerable people is now an issue Zinos is deeply invested in — even with her own kids now in Catholic schools. She said she’s deeply motivated by messages from people who are suffering as a result of the new gender theory: parents of children confused about their sexual identity, families facing the loss of child custody because they won’t condone transgenderism and young adults scarred from irreversible transition surgeries.

“It’s these stories — these people — that keep me fighting,” she said.

Zinos is always looking for more to join her on the front lines — especially because she believes no family will be left untouched by transgender ideology if the problem isn’t confronted.

“The idea that we can choose our sex is a dangerous lie, and telling the truth about who we are is the antidote,” she said. “Parents should expect that this issue will present itself at their children’s schools sooner than later, and should familiarize themselves with the Catholic response.”

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  • Dianne S

    I think the Church should spend more energy stopping protection of pedophile priests and Vatican officials and less energy picking on transgender kids.

    • Zoë Lafantaisie

      Well I think we can raise the bar a little higher than that – surely we can tackle both at the same time – after all, they’re kind of linked.

      • JF

        They ARE NOT linked.

        The vile efforts by religious people to link being LGBT to pedophila have been debunked, repeatedly.

        There. Is. No. Link.

        The outrageous defense of pedophiles by the Catholic Church on the other hand is not merely documented but ongoing.

        Several priests in prison for child sex abuse still being paid by Louisville Catholic church, 27 Sept. 2017

        LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — They stand convicted of committing terrible sins, but pedophile priests are still being paid by the Catholic church in Louisville.

        “I think it’s absurd,” Michael Norris said. “I just don’t understand it.”

        Norris is one of Fr. Joseph Hemmerle’s victims, molested at age 11 at camp Tall Trees in Meade County in the 1970’s.

        “This man is who I was thought is an extension of God,” Norris said. “That’s what the Catholic church taught me. And here’s God doing this to me. It really messes with your spirituality.”

        Denied shock probation this month, Hemmerle’s black-and-white prison jumpsuit appeared in stark contrast to the same colors he once wore robed in the Catholic church.

        “All these practicing Catholics should be outraged that, here is this guy twice convicted, sitting in jail for what he did, and he’s still a priest,” Norris said.

        The Archdiocese of Louisville said Hemmerle is suspended as a priest, and it hasn’t taken further action as one of his convictions is under appeal.

        Only the Pope can remove the status of a priest, but the process starts with the Archdiocese. Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz declined WDRB News’ request for an on-camera interview on the subject.

        Far more often than removing a priest for molestation, the Catholic church orders him to a lifetime of “prayer and penance.” That’s the case for Rev. James Schook, convicted in Louisville in 2014.

        “Priests who are directed to lead a life of prayer and penance may not exercise ministry, say mass publicly, or administer the sacraments,” said Archdiocese of Louisville Spokeswoman Cecilia Price. “They may not wear clerical garb or present themselves as a priests.”

        But they can sill collect a check from the church.

        “Priests on prayer and penance receive medical insurance and a reduced salary if not retired or reduced retirement benefits,” Price said.

        It’s faith-shaking to some parishioners.

        “It’s wrong,” said Carolina Soto, a Catholic who attended mass Wednesday at Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville.

        “It’s more than disappointing,” said Matt Harris, another parishioner. “It’s just sad.”

        For Norris, it’s maddening.

        “When you are dealing with the Catholic church and all these sexual abuse cases, their first priority is to protect the church and protect the priest,” Norris said. “They could care less about the victim.”

        The Archdiocese of Louisville settled a nearly $26 million class action lawsuit in 2003, paying 243 child sex abuse victims. At least three of those accused priests were also given penance and prayer — and paid — until they died: Fr. Robert Dollinger, Fr. James Hargadon and Rev. Edwin Scherzer.

        Scherzer was convicted in 2005 and just passed away in August of 2017. His online obituary listed him as an ordained priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

        • DebraBrunsberg

          Actually, most of the offenses were against pre-teen and teen boys and they were criminal and should be treated as such. The reality however, the FACT is that most of that sexual abuse was committed by homosexual priests. That is why those with same sex attraction are no longer accepted in the seminaries. You might think they are debunked, but you are living a delusion. We all know that the media did not want to put that information out there, but the truth is the truth. Why don’t you seek it?

          • Chutney

            The truth of the matter is that exposure to same sex violation by a priest or any other individual cannot possibly make an individual turn out to be gay. That is what JF was saying. If a person is gay, they were born that way and nothing and no one can do anything to change that.

    • Brad T

      Amen!!! Funny how Catholics are so willing to back the system and Pope like they are actually credible. Pope right now is holding some bogus “protect children from on-line kiddie porn” conference while protecting a priest that had kiddie porn on his computer!! Ha, they’ve got nothing on Hypocrisy, that’s for sure. Jesus isn’t for pedophiles so I am guessing He isn’t thrilled that the Church claims to represent him.

  • Angela Burnham

    These people can’t even keep their own house in order without attacking outsiders like those in the LGBT community. Focus on your pedophile priests and the mafias that use the Vatican bank to launder money.

  • Marina

    Instead of fixating on harmless minorities like transgender people, lesbian and gay persons it would be better to clean your own closet first by condemning and removing paedophile priests from churches. Everything else is nothing but hypocritical cries of bigoted people who can’t put their own lives in order but instead try to divert attention, by blaming the others for their own failures.

    • DebraBrunsberg

      There is no such thing as transgenderism. It is a made up malady. It is a mental illness. It is in the same line as anorexia. A person, in their mind, believes they are fat and so they starve themselves, many times even to death because their brain does not accept the reality of their body. This is the same thing. This pretense is just another way to destroy children and the family, which is the hallmark of the evil one. Again, put your emotion away and look at the facts. You know, science and all. There are two genders folks, two. You can pretend all you want, but the sad fact is that many need psychological help and people like you are instead assisting them in destroying their bodies and their minds.

      • Marina

        According to DSM-5, you couldn’t be wronger than this, but it looks to me that you support pedophile priests and admire child abuse.

  • Rosa

    I fully support this woman. I agree that normalizing transgenderism is dangerous. One thing is to promote acceptance of people who are different, another thing is to accept such difference as “normal.” If you want to lie to yourself, contradict nature and biology, and live your life as someone from the opposite sex, you have the right to do so, but don’t try to convince my children that that is a normal and natural path because it’s not!

    • Dianne S

      And yet it’s ok to brainwash kids about all sorts of demonstrably improbable events like virgin birth (if that’s not denying biology I don’t know what is) or resurrection?

      • Rosa

        Those things you mention are NOT taught at school. Those teachings are part of specific faiths. Parents have the right to educate their children within their faith. Since the US is, so far, a DEMOCRATIC nation, freedom of religion is protected under the constitution.

      • Zoë Lafantaisie

        That’s a great point, I agree but trans ideology wants a piece of that brainwashing pie too it would seem.

    • JF

      Gender identity IS biological.

      Endocr Pract. 2015 Feb;21(2):199-204. doi: 10.4158/EP14351.RA.
      Evidence supporting the biologic nature of gender identity.
      Saraswat A, Weinand JD, Safer JD.

      Abstract

      OBJECTIVE: To review current literature that supports a biologic basis of gender identity.

      METHODS: A traditional literature review.

      RESULTS: Evidence that there is a biologic basis for gender identity primarily involves (1) data on gender identity in patients with disorders of sex development (DSDs, also known as differences of sex development) along with (2) neuroanatomical differences associated with gender identity.

      CONCLUSIONS: Although the mechanisms remain to be determined, there is strong support in the literature for a biologic basis of gender identity.

      • Zoë Lafantaisie

        NO

        • JF

          Such an eloquent, reasoned, and backed by actual scientific evidence response.

          Sticking your fingers in your ears and saying “I don’t believe it” doesn’t change the facts.

          The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.
          ? Neil deGrasse Tyson

          • Zoë Lafantaisie

            LOL

  • Chutney

    The problem as I see it is that church ideology does not match up with the facts of modern science. Being transgender is not an ideology, it’s not a choice some people make. Transgender people are born, not made.

    • DebraBrunsberg

      That is a total lie. Please. You now have adults trying to say that their four year old or pre-teen are a different sex than what they biologically are and at an age where their brains are not even formed, much less their bodies. It is child abuse, pure and simple. It is sick that anyone would put this on a child. Modern Science. It isn’t polite to laugh, but really, come on. Explain that one to me.

      • JF

        Let’s talk a bit about biology.

        Endocr Pract. 2015 Feb;21(2):199-204. doi: 10.4158/EP14351.RA.
        Evidence supporting the biologic nature of gender identity.
        Saraswat A, Weinand JD, Safer JD.

        Abstract

        OBJECTIVE: To review current literature that supports a biologic basis of gender identity.

        METHODS: A traditional literature review.

        RESULTS: Evidence that there is a biologic basis for gender identity primarily involves (1) data on gender identity in patients with disorders of sex development (DSDs, also known as differences of sex development) along with (2) neuroanatomical differences associated with gender identity.

        CONCLUSIONS: Although the mechanisms remain to be determined, there is strong support in the literature for a biologic basis of gender identity.

        • saintteresa

          They’ve been trying to find the link between biology and gender dysphoria for 20 years and haven’t found anything conclusive. Even this conclusion is hardly “scientific” – “we don’t know what the connection is, just that we think there is one.” They’ve actually just started the biggest study to date (pending funding) but I’m guessing this one will be just as inconclusive.

          • JF

            I literally post the peer reviewed paper drawing the direct scientific links between biology and gender identity via MULTIPLE lines of evidence: Genetics, brain anatomy, twins studies, endocrinology, inheritance studies. It references FORTY supporting studies.

            You dismiss them as ‘hardly “scientific”‘. You don’t have the slightest idea what constitutes scientific evidence.

            We knew that something like DNA existed decades before the actual specific discovery of the molecule itself. Because it had to to satisfy the mountains of evidence. We didn’t doubt it existed – even though we hadn’t actually found it.

            We knew neutrinos had to exist more than a decade before they were actually detected. Because the mountains of evidence required them to exist. If they didn’t exist, physics was fundamentally broken. Even though no one had ever detected one.

            We knew atoms had to exist centuries before we detected an individual atom.

            If you find a crime scene with five quarts of fresh human blood on the ground, and no body, you can be pretty sure whomever that blood came from is dead. You don’t have to actually find the body to come to that entirely scientific conclusion. People minus five quarts of blood are dead.

            Or to put it more prosaically: If you push the buttons on your TV remote and the TV turns on, the TV remote works. You don’t have to have the slightest understanding of how the remote, or the TV for that matter, actually works to know, unequivocally, that they do work. And yes – that is science.

          • saintteresa

            And if there is a crime scene with 5 quarts of Jenner’s blood on the ground, I can guarantee 100% of scientists called in to test that blood will conclude that the victim was a male.

          • JF

            You’re sure about that? It turns out there are people assigned male at birth who are chromosomally XX, XX/XY, XYY, ….. And people assigned female at birth who are XY, XYY, XX/XY, X0, ….

            Biology is COMPLICATED. And the simplification we teach to 4th graders about XX == female and XY == male is just that: A simplification.

            www .nature. com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

            Sex redefined: The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that.

            As a clinical geneticist, Paul James is accustomed to discussing some of the most delicate issues with his patients. But in early 2010, he found himself having a particularly awkward conversation about sex.

            A 46-year-old pregnant woman had visited his clinic at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia to hear the results of an amniocentesis test to screen her baby’s chromosomes for abnormalities. The baby was fine — but follow-up tests had revealed something astonishing about the mother. Her body was built of cells from two individuals, probably from twin embryos that had merged in her own mother’s womb. And there was more. One set of cells carried two X chromosomes, the complement that typically makes a person female; the other had an X and a Y. Halfway through her fifth decade and pregnant with her third child, the woman learned for the first time that a large part of her body was chromosomally male. “That’s kind of science-fiction material for someone who just came in for an amniocentesis,” says James.

            […]

            To quote Neil DeGrasse Tyson: ‘The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.’

          • saintteresa

            For a little over 98% of the human population, XX or XY are the options. Yes, it’s possible Jenner is part of the small percentage that have (knowingly or not) a genetic abnormality that would cause a different combination. As far as I know Jenner identifies as trans, not intersex. Surgery and hormones do nothing whatsoever to change a person’s DNA,. That was my point.

          • Dominic Deus

            JF—are you aware you cited an article listing two lawyers as experts in biology? Seriously, JF. OK, here is some help: Archbishop Hebda is a lawyer–JD. I am a physician and scientist–MD. Ok?

          • Dominic Deus

            I know many people like that.

          • DebraBrunsberg

            Yes, I read it. Now, show me a real study that has a real scientific determination that can be measured and duplicated. There is science and then there is, “one guy came up with this so it must be true.” It doesn’t matter what one feels in their head or how they mutilate their body. A man will never be a woman and I find it kind of insulting to have a person who is genetically male think they will ever know what occurs in a woman’s body. No menstruating, no creation and birth of a child, no knowledge of all the feelings and emotions that a woman has and shares with other women. They have a fantasy in their head. There are two genders. TWO. Male and FEMALE. That is Science. Enough.

          • Dominic Deus

            Dominic Deus here. It was an abstract, not a study, and it was a literature search. The authors (whom I mistakenly identified as lawyers because of their initials–JD) are simply saying they found supporting evidence for their premise that gender identity is biological, i.e. not a disease, not mental illness, not a choice, but biologically driven if not determined. That is not proof but it is enough data to suggest that withholding a final declaration of facts is wise and withholding moralistic judgement is an obligation.

            This is an extremely complicated, multi-discipline area of study and there much sincere disagreement on how to proceed. As a general rule young children are simply offered the chance to choose if the want to be addressed (in words and actions) as a boy or girl. It tends to be a fluid decision that can change day to day but they more or less figure out their own rules of engagement and, truth be told, for most of them a boy wearing a dress or skirt makes no more or less sense than a girl wearing jeans or both genders wearing shorts.

            To young children, the most important thing about peeing is to not do it in your pants which leads to the second most important thing, being able to pee when you need to. Nothing else matters much. They will usually use all gender bathrooms without any problems. To be honest, I have a hard time keeping a straight face on this one. What kind of sheltered did some commentators live? They never peed in the bushes/flower garden with the other kids?

            One area that is extremely complicated is hormonal therapy for pre-pubescent pre-teens. There seems to be good evidence that hormonal therapy at this time is the best option for individuals who have been happy and stable in their gender for years because suddenly experiencing puberty the opposite of how they have identified for years is really difficult.

            That said, there are many legitimate concerns about these issue but it is way to early to make judgements. That plus, at a very fundamental level, if changing genders is possible what is wrong with making the choice? Medicine and psychology have been dealing with ambiguous genitalia and dimorphism for years without moral judgement. Why now?

          • Charles C.

            Dear JF,

            It won’t do to claim too much for the paper you cite. After all, it doesn’t do anything other than summarize other research papers which support the idea of a biological basis of gender identity. It doesn’t look at any papers which might reach a different conclusion.

            And I’m not that excited by the idea that the brain and associated chemicals affect how we see the world and understand it. That’s not exactly news.

            It’s also not news that depression, and many other mental illnesses are connected to abnormalities in the brain or chemicals which affect the brain. People get treatment for such conditions regularly.

            The question remains how best to deal with the admittedly rare phenomenon of an individual’s understanding of their sex differing from the physical reality of it.

      • Dominic Deus

        DebraDude! You are back and it is so ironic. Here you are reacting negatively to the very idea of transgenderism and yet you are a man writing as a woman. Wow.

        Oh, btw, the further irony is that it’s your writing that gives you away. You write like you talk and you talk like a man. There is a lot of critical analysis on the subject of trying to write in the opposite sex voice–it’s extremely difficult. I commend you for trying but you have to take a class or join a writers group with a lot of women in it.

        I wouldn’t have outed you so completely (I admit to addressing you as DebraDude before) just like I would not out a gay person or a transgender person but this is different. I’m ok with you being a literary transgender person and you don’t need me or anyone to be ok with it if its you and you’re ok with it. BUT, you are being not ok with biologically transgender people and I have to be honest with you. Feel the burn Dude, feel the Burn.

        • DebraBrunsberg

          Thank you for the best laugh I have had all day. Yes, even funnier than these other responses.

    • saintteresa

      If people are born transgender, why is it that roughly 85% of kids that identify as transgender will naturally outgrow those tendencies if puberty is allowed to naturally run it’s course? Doesn’t it make sense, scientifically, to let these kids go through puberty before assuming they’ll all be part of the 15% that doesn’t outgrow the feeling?

      • Chutney

        “Doesn’t it make sense, scientifically, to let these kids go through puberty before assuming they’ll all be part of the 15% that doesn’t outgrow the feeling?” No, absolutely not. Not if that child really is transgender. Only qualified medical and mental health professionals should diagnose transgender issues.

        If a child truly is transgender, then allowing that child to reach puberty will permanently deform their body into the very image of their worst fears, causing the very conditions that are the hallmark excuse every demeaning cisgender naysayer latches on to in the first place.

        That child would be scarred for life and would very likely continue to suffer the same kinds of scorn,ridicule and violent mistreatment so frequently heaped on the entire transgender community by pretty much everyone not transgender.

        There is NOT a single living human being that has the right to tell a transgender person whether or not they can receive the care that they need. Any attempt to interfere with the health care of a transgender man, woman or child is cruel and barbarous treatment.

        As I said before, only qualified medical and mental health professionals should diagnose transgender issues. Everybody else, should keep their mouths firmly shut and not interfere in the health care of the transgender individual.

        • saintteresa

          Look up some of the many online stories about transition regret. Some of these professionals stand to gain financially from their diagnosis. I don’t know if they’re always the best ones to make the call. Let the detransitioned speak for themselves about their struggle with being “scarred for life” literally.

          • Chutney

            You cisgender fear mongers are constantly regurgitating the lies emanating from the likes of the professional liar Walt Heyer and friends. I have yet to see a single credible “trans regret” tale.

  • JF

    So….bigotry as a “virtue”.

  • Dominic Deus

    To the Editor: Is there a reason my posts are moderated out? I’m not any more or less objectionable than I have ever been.

    • spiritwebmaster

      Hi Dominic Deus,

      For reasons I am unable to ascertain, a few of your posts were auto-filtered as spam. This happens from time to time. I have manually approved them and you should be able to see them now.

      • Dominic Deus

        Thanks? BTW, “spiritwebmaster” has got to be one of the best tech nerd names ever. Do we have to make sacrifical offerings?

  • Theresa

    I was at those meetings 2 years ago at NOVA Classical Academy. What I saw was individuals claiming to be christian screaming and verbally abusing the board and the administration. They were out of control to the extent that we feared for the physical safety of some of the staff. They also demanded the firing of anyone who disagreed with them including teachers who signed a petition against bullying. One of the worse perpetrators of the abuse was Mr. Zinos–Emily’s husband . So, perhaps before these same people give interviews and try to sound as if they are carrying the love of Christ…they should begin practicing it.

    • saintteresa

      I was also at many of those meetings and never once did I see anything remotely resembling what you are describing. Nor did I hear any talk among the staff of anyone feeling afraid for their safety. (I did, however, hear girls talk about feeling afraid for their safety if they were forced to change into gym clothes with boys, but no one listened to them.)

      • Theresa

        These same people can be very pleasant in person, I agree. In this group they were not pleasant. I do want to reinforce that it was not everyone–it was a few but they were loud and abusive. What I am saying is not false, it is not slander. It happened. Some of this was put in writing–you can read the public comment for yourself–especially the calls to fire teachers for having the audacity to sign an anti-bullying petition. The yelling and screaming was quite real. In fact, at one meeting, one of the individuals who got up to speak (against gender diversity but quite calmly and is, by the way, someone I respect) apologized for the behavior of others and stated that it hurt their ability to get their message across. The fact that staff and teachers received hateful e-mails is also fact; and was in writing. The fact that some people were afraid is not in writing but is something that was told to me. to attack me as a gender radical and stereotype my behavior is interesting; you don’t know me, haven’t talked to me. There are people at NOVA was strong beliefs about this topic, I have had pleasant and respectful conversations with them and continue to be glad they are there.

        • saintteresa

          I am confused as to where in my statement I was attacking you? I am merely saying in all of the meetings I went to, I heard no yelling or screaming (slightly raised voices perhaps, but as there were no microphones and often the crowd was large, plus the high level of emotion on both sides of the issue, that was to be expected.) I never heard anything I would have considered “abusive” – I will admit I didn’t read every public comment from the meetings I was unable to attend, nor do I have access to private e-mails from teachers, but as the decision of the school has already been to side with those who believe in the transgender ideology and not with those who you claim were abusive, I don’t see the point in going back to rehash it. I’m not saying you didn’t see those things, just that I didn’t. In the end, no one was fired, the man you claim was the most “abusive” was afraid enough for his children that he pulled them from the school, and the family of the trans child walked away with a lot of money.

          I also take issue with the idea that Christians can’t get upset or yell. You might want to revisit Jesus in the Temple. Where there is injustice, I think the Christian has an obligation to speak up. In this case, in defense of half of the student population – perhaps a boy in the girl’s bathroom isn’t a big deal when they’re in first grade, but fast forward to high school. What teenage girl is going to feel comfortable with that?

    • Michele Lentz

      I know these people and your characterization of them is false and slanderous. It is also consistent of the behavior of the gender radicals to accuse parents of the very tactics the gender radicals use. The bullying being done is by those preaching tolerance the loudest but don’t practice what they preach.