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Keepsakes from utopia
After fifteen years I finally started weeding through the kids’ schoolwork and art projects—all those papers that seemingly multiplied overnight until you think you need to move into a bigger house to contain all your crap. It took three days to sift through a few jumbo plastic bins and dozens of old, tote bags, tossing tons of stuff but holding onto the most memorable.
When I found this book report, I knew I wanted to share it. There are only so many words that can encapsulate the lessons Miss Miller learned at school over the past dozen years.
She created this alphabet book report on Jazz Jennings in fifth grade, when she was ten. Each child got to choose their own subject, and based their alphabet book on a biography about that person. Trans was already on my daughter’s mind. Her best friend had declared her own transgender identity around that time and was soon to begin medical transition. At the time, I was just happy my daughter had read an actual book.
It all seemed so kind and socially aware then. Little did I know that in just a few short years, Miss Miller herself would declare a trans identity. This, along with her confused friend, ideologically captured school and internet, was her gateway.
A couple years ago I asked what she thought about Jazz’s one-hundred-pound weight gain. Just an ordinary binge-eating disorder, she replied, unrelated to anything, least of all puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or multiple botched surgeries.
Watching clips and compilations of Jazz’s mental anguish reveals—to anyone who hasn’t been emotionally blackmailed—the catastrophic failure of a barbaric experiment. That scene on the bed between Jazz and his mom is particularly infuriating to watch. Like, hey Mom! Munchausen much?
Jazz cries, “It just doesn’t stop,” and his mom says, “I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there.” And Jazz says, “No.”
There’s a hovering moment where I think Jazz is going to say, “You have not been here,” but instead, he says, “So I’m the one doing it,” as if he’s copping to a bad attitude. The mother seems to confirm this version of reality when she replies, “I know. You’re your own worst enemy.” And Jazz believes it, minimizing his anguish as “breaking down a little bit.”
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s shouted at the screen, “No, Mom —YOU’RE Jazz’s worst enemy!”
If I knew then what I know now, I would have suggested a different public figure for Miss Miller to research, but I wasn’t aware of the insidiousness of gender ideology. Even if I did, it’s quite possible she would have insisted upon Jazz more intensely. Miss Miller is way more stubborn than I am. I admire her for that, even though it’s a pain in the ass. In the end it will be valuable to have this keepsake that reflects a child’s misguided concept of utopia.
For now, I can’t help but imagine going back in time, to an alternate reality where Jazz’s mother, instead of commodifying her son’s distress, gets therapy of her own. The public never hears about Jaron or his family because there is no circus, no exhibition, no spectacle. There’s simply a family with an effeminate little boy. And as he grows older his wish to be a girl fades. He’s gay, and that’s fine, mundane even. He gets good grades, has fun with his friends, gets into a great college and lives happily ever after. And Miss Miller writes her alphabet book report on some other hero—someone whose contribution to history was based on their actions and had nothing at all to do with their “so-called” gender identity.