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

| Jonathan Liedl | September 29, 2017 | 47 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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