Sunday Commentary: Moms for Liberty Keeps Trying to Divide the Community – But They Are Making It Stronger

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – The question I increasingly have is—where does this stop?  I am referring to Moms for Liberty and its local chapter president.  While I have pointed out a number of times that the efforts locally have failed, the continued ramp up is doing much more harm than it is accomplishing anything for their agenda.

The latest example.

I received the following message on Saturday: “Not sure if this warrants Vanguard coverage or not, but, Beth Bourne continues her unrelenting, unnecessary attacks on our community, this time not only objecting to recognition of LGTBQIA issues INITIATED BY THE KIDS engaged with Citrus Circuits 1678, but going so far as to suggest that these kids are ‘on the autism spectrum.’”

The person noted that she posted a link that identified all of the Citrus Circuits mentors by name in two posts calling out the team.

The impetus?  Apparently last week, they had a “Bonding Night for our female and non-binary members.”

Bourne writes: “What is wrong with the adults leading the DJUSD’s Citrus Circuits Robotics team?”

She explains, “It is not kind and inclusive to tell girls and boys that they can reject their bodies and biological reality. There is no such thing as a ‘non-binary’ child.

“These robotic kids are quirky, intelligent, sensitive, and kind, and often on the autism-spectrum. They think because they don’t fit in with their peer groups, they might not be a girl or boy. Please don’t lie to these children. Their bodies are perfect just as they are. ‘Nullification’ and ‘gender affirming’ drugs, such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, and ‘sex change’ surgeries will make them medical patients for life.”

As far as I can tell, because they invited non-binary students and girls to a bonding night, it drew the group into the crosshairs of Beth Bourne and Moms for Liberty?

In addition, the students apparently joined in solidarity with their transgender friends and so they wore “transgender lime shirts.”

In their social media post they explain, “This year, Citrus Circuits wants to show our support for our transgender friends within FRC, and at Champs we have teamed with @frc3005 RoboChargers and their RoboChargers for All Initiative.  Our Citrus for Change program is introducing transgender lime shirts and buttons, as well as a transgender lime on the Tangerine Tumbler.  Citrus Circuits believes that everyone should feel sale to explore STEM, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation…”

The irony of course is that the attacks by Moms for Liberty on the transgender and LGBTQ community is driving many of these messages, and then the group uses then as evidence of adults intervening.  In many cases, as the writer points out, these were initiated by the kids themselves in solidarity with their friends, colleagues and classmates.

Also in light of the long discussion and debate on the Vanguard, it was interesting to see that Beth Bourne also attempted to criticize board trustee Joe DiNunzio for recommending the book Flamer.

Bourne writes, “DJUSD Trustee Joe DiNunzio recommends Davis kids read the book ‘Flamer.’ DiNunzio says the sexually explicit, pornographic drawings in the book are ‘beautiful.’”

She notes that the junior high libraries “have it on their shelves for kids as young as 12-14 yrs.”

She says, “This is child endangerment—parents have no ability to ‘opt-out’ their child from this hyper-sexualized material. ‘Flamer’ shared the top spot for most-banned book in the U.S. for 2022-23 school year (Maia Kobabe’s ‘Gender Queer.’”

Juanita Giles reviewed the book for NPR back in October 2020.

She noted, “Oh my Lord, do teenaged boys really talk to each other like this?”

She writes, “My husband assured me that yes, a thousand times yes, they really do.”

Giles explains, “Being a teenaged boy looks hard. It looks brutish. It looks intimidating. It looks confusing. It looks vulgar. It looks, well, really uncomfortable.”

She compares it to Judy Blume—which is what came to mind when a reader objected to the book.

“Whatever IT is, Mike Curato knows it. He knows it like Judy Blume knows a teenaged girl, and that’s quite a bit,” Giles writes.

People complain that a 12- to 14-year-old might read this?  Really?  Kids that age are already experiencing this stuff.

As Giles notes, “Mike Curato does right by every kid or adult who has ever had those moments. There are no promises of rosy skies and sunflowers for Aiden, no redemptive story of bullies turning into pussycats.”

About the main character she notes, “Aiden does not emerge from the flames unscathed, but he does emerge stronger and accepting of himself.  And that’s the kind of teenage boy I like.”

It seems kind of important for kids that age to have to confront issues that they will have to confront in a manner so that they can engage with it.

Perhaps more importantly for the big picture—it seems like a metaphor for what this community has gone through.  We do not emerge from the flames of the past year unscathed, but maybe, just maybe, we have emerged stronger and more accepting of the diversity within ourselves.  That’s the kind of community I want to be part of.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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38 Comments

  1. Walter Shwe

    For now at least Beth Bourne has blurred out the faces of under age children. She was doing so for awhile in clear violation of the law. In some sense the Moms for Liberty and Beth remind me of NIMBY obstructionists. Both are zealots in there own unique ways.

    1. David Greenwald

      Have you read it yet?

      Have you ever read the book Maus? Did you know a Tennessee school district voted to ban it because of “inappropriate language” and an illustration of a nude woman.

      Nevermind that Maus is about the Holocaust.

      I see this as the same thing.

      1. Keith Olsen

        Then why don’t you post the questionable illustrations and excerpts form the book Flamer here?  Let your readers decide if they think it’s appropriate for children to read.

        1. David Greenwald

          Joe D read the book and thinks it’s appropriate

          Don read the book and thinks it’s appropriate

          I’ve now read the book and think it’s appropriate

          You haven’t read the book, and think it’s not appropriate.

          What does that tell you?

          1. David Greenwald

            But you’re playing a game here. You want people to see selected images somehow believing they will agree with you. But, you’re at the same time, ignoring the lesson of Maus. If you aren’t judging the book in context, you are jumping to conclusions.

          1. David Greenwald

            It’s a 300-plus page book with at least 4 illustrations per most page, sometimes more. You are arguing that based on one or two of them, the book should be banned. I have made several points to that effect – there is a reason why I keep referencing Maus (which you keep ignoring). And you haven’t even read the book, so you have no way of actually assessing this point for yourself.

          2. Don Shor

            Why are you dodging?

            Why are you refusing to read the book so you can discuss it intelligently? It’s available online. Or probably at the local library.

        2. Walter Shwe

          My oh my Keith. Insisting that David post things in full public view that you claim to be inappropriate for young children. How dare you insist that David do anything when you don’t own or work for the Vanguard. Secondly, you post highly negative and misleading comments about David and the Vanguard elsewhere. Why should David do anything for you Keith?

        3. Keith Olsen

          That’s my point Walter, if the “things” as you put it are appropriate for children to see then why can’t the Vanguard post those “things” here?  I think David knows the “things” that are in question.

          1. David Greenwald

            It’s like asking – do I think children should read about the holocaust and then asking me to post nude photos of death camps out of context.

        4. Walter Shwe

          That’s my point Walter, if the “things” as you put it are appropriate for children to see then why can’t the Vanguard post those “things” here?  I think David knows the “things” that are in question.

          No, you twisted my point Keith.

        5. Kendra Smith

          “…are appropriate for children..”

          Let’s stop being disingenuous and claiming these books are aimed at “children.” They are aimed at junior high and HS students, and per experts, are appropriate for that age range.

          Humans in that age range are no longer “children” (but keep up that appeal to pathos, just like the M4L do), but adolescents and have an entirely different set of educational and psychological needs, whether their parents are capable of recognizing that or not.

          If parents don’t want their tweens and teens reading them, that is their responsibility.

    2. Matt Williams

      Keith, because of your insistence of David posting the excerpts from Rauncher that are being objected to, I went out to Google and sid a search.  The result was interesting.  The page posted by the Tahoma Parents under the title “Sexually Explicit Graphic Novel Discovered in Tahoma HS Library” has an article that begins “A recent tip sent to us by upset parents shows a wildly inappropriate “LGBTQ+” graphic novel on display at the THS library. While displays included other controversial novels, “Flamer” appears to be the main cause of concern.  WARNING: The images and text shown throughout this article may be considered highly inappropriate. Reader discretion is advised.”

      At the bottom of the article is a gallery of the pages they chose to share.  IThjey are easy to scroll through … and nothing is in thaem that wasn’t part of “locker room talk” when I was in Junior High School and High School.  It was reminiscent of my discussions after a school dance where I and the girl I was dancing with experienced a Mae West moment … “Is that a pickle in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”

      1. David Greenwald

        You have it right Matt and moreover, there are literally thousands of illustrations in the book, and so the effort to paint this as somehow being inappropriate is taking those images out of context.

      2. rbulman

        It’s not about protecting children and it never has been.  Across the country many anti-gay and anti-trans activists have read aloud at public meetings – in the presence of minors! – what they consider to be objectionable material for minors to be exposed to! Beth has posted what she considers to be objectionable material on her PUBLIC Facebook page.  It’s as if they have never heard of the internet and how many minors are far more savvy than their parents to find the juicy stuff.  I would much rather have my kid read a controversial graphic novel about gender and sexual identity and the challenges of adolescence than to have him explore the darkness of the internet. These puritanical authoritarians are really just interested in stirring up shit to create more outrage at imaginary enemies.  Wittingly or not, they are carrying water for right-wing elites. Just as millions bought the lie about election fraud, folks in that same orbit are buying the crazy idea that “woke cultural Marxists” have supplanted academics with pornography and trans “propaganda” in the public schools. No amount of evidence or logic will convince them otherwise. They are drunk with rage and have their hands firmly gripped on the pitchforks.

  2. Kendra Smith

    ““This is child endangerment—parents have no ability to ‘opt-out’ their child from this hyper-sexualized material.”

    I’m laughing at this. “Child endangerment?” What a load of bullslop.

    Your “child” is seeing much more graphic material on that little computer they carry around with them 24/7. Or they’re hearing graphic talk like this from their peers (yes: adolescents do talk like this–primarily boys, but I’ve also heard some from girls in my over a decade of working with youth in various capacities in this community).

    But, sure, bury your head in the sand about that and go after books under the color of “parental rights” when you are stripping the parental rights from everyone else.

     

     

  3. Sharla Cheney

    It is not just wanting to restrict freedom of speech and expression. Moms for Liberty-Yolo members have also opposed providing free menstrual products in school and college bathrooms, lobbied against legislation that would require insurance policies to include minimal treatment for infertility, and opposes sexual health education and resources for teens.

    I am troubled that students in our local schools feel the need to rally around their peers to support and protect each other from elements in our community that are threatening them.

  4. Kendra Smith

    “Moms for Liberty-Yolo members have also opposed providing free menstrual products in school and college bathrooms.”

    I would really love to know their reasoning behind this.

     

  5. rbulman

    This is the latest response to the DiNunzio post on the Moms for Liberty chair’s page:

    “So now Joe Dinunzio is promoting child molestation at summer camp, and pornographic material. Calling it a good read, he’s a pedophile and everybody who supports him is a pedophile. We have to get these people out of our school systems.”

    The puritanical authoritarianism of this crowd is truly chilling. They are dangerous.

    1. Kendra Smith

      “So now Joe Dinunzio is promoting child molestation at summer camp, and pornographic material. Calling it a good read, he’s a pedophile and everybody who supports him is a pedophile. We have to get these people out of our school systems.”

      They are absolutely dangerous, and thank you for recognizing that, instead of soft peddling them like so many others in this community (and in this forum) have done.

      They are eventually going to get someone killed.

      And let’s talk about who the real pedophiles are, shall we? Look to the churches, because a heck of a lot of that seems to be going on there. But, sure. It’s the teachers and librarians, and camp directors who are the pedos and groomers. /s

      Why do people still insist that people who spout this dangerous slop deserve any civility or a seat at the table for adult discussions about serious topics?

      People really, really need to read up on the Paradox of Tolerance.

      1. Walter Shwe

        “F_ _ _ David Greenwald, Don Shor, Matt Williams and the other evil effs on that corrupt POS site (sorry, but needed to vent).  It is fascinating how these old liberals in town have been ideological captured to support the radical cult woke religion that targets children.  Maybe there is something in the water in Davis that is causing this mass psychosis.  These are the same people that defended the COVID era draconian shutdowns of schools that permanently and unnecessarily harmed the lives of hundreds of thousands of school children.  I have a definition of evil… those that knowingly support the unnecessary harm of others for their personal enjoyment or gain.  Take it to the next level when those harmed are children.  These VG people are evil.”

        1. Kendra Smith

          Right back at that vile woman.

          Just more argle bargle violent nonsense from these right wingers.

          And I would think UC Davis would institute some kind of disciplinary action on her for calling a fellow staff member a “pedophile” and inviting right wing whackaloons to have a go at him.

          But, yeah. We need to treat these people in a civil manner. *eyeroll*

          And I love how some commenters here want to give the M4L the benefit of the doubt and ask us to empathize with them and “put ourselves in their shoes.”

          I would ask those commenters to put themselves in the shoes of a vulnerable trans child or gay child right now who may have right wing hostile parents. I’m much more concerned with empathizing with someone like that than the M4L Chair’s of the country.

          Who have demonstrated themselves to be rank hypocrites. The national M4L chair getting her little rocks off to what she would have wiped from public existence. Such great, standup people! /s

        2. rbulman

          I recall plenty of right-wingers arguing in defense of the second amendment that the occasional mass shooting of children is the price of freedom. But when it comes to defending the first amendment they are quick to make exceptions so children are “protected” from discussions of gay and transgender lives.

      2. Kendra Smith

        “I recall plenty of right-wingers arguing in defense of the second amendment that the occasional mass shooting of children is the price of freedom. But when it comes to defending the first amendment they are quick to make exceptions so children are “protected” from discussions of gay and transgender lives.”

        Rbulman: You are correct here and raise a compelling point. Conservatives and right wingers aren’t interested in maintaining any sort of internal logical cohesion in their beliefs or statements.

        And this is because *all* they are interested in is the pure exercise of authoritarian power.

        1. Walter Shwe

          I would add that conservatives are only interested in doxxing and putting down everyone that dares to oppose them. The Moms for Liberty and Beth Bourne are excellent examples of this phenomenon.

        2. Walter Shwe

          That’s hilarious, the only ones I’ve seen putting down and doxxing people on this site are left wing zealots.

          That is an easily debunked lie Keith.

          This North Davis Elementary School teacher and LGBTQIA+ activist, Ingrid Salim, will change a student’s name, preferred pronouns, and “gender identity” behind their parents’ back. 
          🏳️‍⚧️🏳️‍⚧️🚩🚩

          What is the word for a teacher who encourages children to keep secrets from their parents?

          This is not kind or inclusive. Policies that promote lying to parents hurt all children.

          Davis Joint Unified School District Davis Vanguard Holmes Junior High School Gloria Partida Lucas Frerichs Davis Enterprise The HUB

          DJUSD teachers, like Ingrid Salim, are part of a closed group called Yolo County Stop Moms for “Liberty”  😂 😂 no one should be allowed the liberty to raise their own child.

          My son learned about 13 possible gender identities at Holmes Junior High School. This email is from Principal Kennedy.

          David Berti Yep. Teach, promote, and celebrate. 

          In Davis, we have “CommuniCare Health” on the Davis Senior High School Campus where kids can meet for free and confidentially with “gender affirming” clinicians to help with their gender transition. 

          Moms for Liberty in communication with the dangerous Libs of TikTok.

          LibsofTikTok used my Public Records Request (PRA) response for this article about Davis High. 

          https://www.libsoftiktok.com/p/revealed-california-school-district

          This could be one of the main Citrus Circuits promoters of gender identify ideology. She/they “queer feminist” teacher at Pioneer Elementary School, Beth Ochsner

          Beth Young Bourne wow, HM is a pedophile. And his story of importance greatly exaggerated and embellished.

          Well, he’s a perv

        3. Keith Olsen

          That’s hilarious, the only ones I’ve seen putting down and doxxing people on this site are left wing zealots.

          Walter, this site, the Vanguard comment section.

        4. Walter Shwe

          I would add that conservatives are only interested in doxxing and putting down everyone that dares to oppose them. The Moms for Liberty and Beth Bourne are excellent examples of this phenomenon.

          I didn’t limit my comment to just this site, therefore everything I stated is absolutely true.

    2. Tim Keller

      he’s a pedophile and everybody who supports him is a pedophile. We have to get these people out of our school systems.”

      While I know nothing about the book in question, I have known Joe for 10+ years and am in awe of his energy for service to others.   I would rather have him in my town and supervising the education of my two kids than spend one second with any of these haters who are trying to make a national issue out of homophobia.

      I’m on team Joe, not team fear+hate.

  6. beth

    Thank you again to David and all of the Vanguard readers for engaging in a conversation with me about the dangers of trans ideology.

    Here are a few key thoughts of mine, borrowing from another concerned mother in the Northwest:

    We need to stop the promotion of Gender Identity Ideology in the Davis public school system, including student clubs and activities.  
     
    It is not okay to present children with blatantly false information about biology.  There is nothing acceptable about telling them that some people are born in the wrong body, sex has nothing to do with anatomy, and men give birth. My son learned all this at Holmes Junior High school in his Health 7 and Health 9 class, as well as there are more than 13 possible gender identities. 
     
    It is not okay to promote sexist stereotypes, undercut safeguarding, and encourage children to dissociate from their bodies. 
     
    I am angry that DJUSD forces students to disregard the evidence of their own eyes, engage in compelled speech, and forfeit their rights to sex-based privacy and female-only sports.  I am angry that DJUSD teachers and school counselors are locking vulnerable children into dissociation from their bodies by allowing students, kindergarten through 12th grade, to change their names, preferred pronouns and gender identity BEHIND PARENTS BACK if the students ask the teachers to keep it a secret. The social transition is Step One in the path to medicalization. 
     
    Multiple systematic reviews have firmly established that pediatric sex change is not evidence-based. Most European countries have stopped all medicalization of minors as the harm to children is well-established and massive. 
     
    I believe Davis schools are complicit in one of the most horrific medical scandals of all time. I have spoken to journalists with the New York Times, The Economist and Reuters about my family’s experience with gender affirming school staff at DJUSD and medial/mental health professionals at Kaiser Permanente. I am happy to share links to the articles. 

    1. Keith Olsen

      Thanks Beth for your commentary here.  I ran across this article where it shows how young some of the children are who are being indoctrinated into transgenderism are and the rethinking and backlash to the policy.

      More than 70 children aged three and four have been sent to the controversial NHS transgender clinic, it can be revealed.

      The pre-schoolers were among 382 youngsters aged six and under referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) over the past decade, official figures show.

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12902319/Dozens-5s-referred-controversial-NHS-transgender-service-officials-consider-introducing-minimum-age-referrals.html

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