Commentary: End of Language As We Know It

Alan Sears | Alliance Defense Fund | Thursday, April 27, 2006

Commentary: End of Language As We Know It

A popular children’s book once pondered the perils of giving a mouse a cookie.

If you give a mouse a cookie, it reasoned, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk—followed by a straw to drink it with, a mirror to check for a milk mustache, scissors to give himself a trim, and numerous other items that trap the generous giver in an endless stream of overwhelming cause and effect.

The demanding rodent seems sweet and innocent enough, but his desires become “needs,” and his “needs” soon become a long and absurd list.

The situation in American society isn’t much different, except the “mouse” has been replaced with minority fringe groups and individuals at best make up between 2 and 4 percent of the population,[1] and the “cookie” is an unending list of legislation, laws, special benefits, and demands that must be passed, granted, or met in the name of “tolerance.”

Bolstered by their perceived successes in the fight to reshape the family and other laws that attempt to provide special funding and privileges to people who engage in homosexual behavior, including “transsexuals” and “transgendered” individuals, some left-leaners have dredged up a silly old “cookie” from the feminist era and plopped it into a modern context:  the push for gender neutrality.

The premise is that the usage of terms like “man,” “woman,” “boy,” “girl,” “male,” and “female” have not only outlived their usefulness, but are borderline “intolerant.”  In other words, if it looks like a duck and talks like a duck, it better be a duck, or a lawsuit could find its way to your pond.

Leading the charge to strike down Joe and Jane is none other than atheist Michael Newdow, the infamous atheist who not only sought to have the word “God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, but now wants “In God We Trust” removed from American currency.

Newdow, who claims the pledge ruling was only the beginning of his campaign to eliminate references to God in the public square, wants to replace the male and female pronouns of “he” and “she” with the gender-neutral “ree,” “rees,” and “erm” as a means of promoting “gender equity.”[2]

He’s not alone on this one.

Welcome to political correctness, circa 2006, where using the wrong gender pronoun, even in error, could have you labeled “insensitive,” “intolerant,” or even “heteronormative.”

Heteronormative?  This new, ridiculously “PC” term refers to a person’s “misguided” reinforcement of the traditional gender roles of man and woman—the ones practiced by the majority of Americans.  In other words, don’t assume that when someone is referring to their “date” that that person is of the opposite sex from the speaker...or that there’s even an opposite sex.

The term gained attention not long ago when it was used by the editorial board of a school newspaper at Pomona College.  A staff-written Nov. 14, 2005, article urges the college to stop being  “heteronormative” and install “gender neutral” bathrooms at a campus center, rather than assuming bathrooms designated for “males” and “females” alone are adequate.[3]

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith was branded “heteronormative” after delivering a speech at Harvard that focused solely on relationships and marriages between men and women.  She was criticized for having a focus that was too “narrow” and which caused some in the audience to feel “left out.”[4]

On college campuses and in workplaces, a renewed push is on to eliminate bathrooms reserved solely for those subscribing to normal sexual roles.  Such “stereotypes” could “alienate” those who subscribe to neither or both “roles.”  Bowling Green University in Ohio has already installed such facilities.  Some students and activists at other institutions, such as Beloit College and the University of Chicago, are pushing for the same.[5]

No mention is given to how much taxpayers—including those who oppose homosexual behavior—are anteing up to fund the “special” facilities, or whether they would agree with allowing their children to attend an institution that celebrates such beliefs, which may well be contrary to their own.

The moral of the lesson?  If you give a mouse same-sex benefits, he’s going to ask you for the gender-neutral bathroom and oh so much more.

Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor who held various posts in the departments of Justice and Interior during the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund (, a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.

[1] “Homosexual groups back off from ‘10 percent’ myth.”  Family Research Council, Nov. 23, 2005.

[2] “Mr. Newdow Goes to Washington.”  Brown Alumni magazine, May/June 2004.

[3] “All students deserve safe SCC restrooms.”  Student Life editorial board, Nov. 11, 2005.

[4] “The Tyranny of the Minority.”  Boston Globe, March 14, 2005 (

[5] “Beloit students pushing for ‘gender-neutral’ bathrooms.”  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 11, 2004 (