Stories like “The Emperor’s New Clothes“are great in using the obvious to show things that are not so obvious. In real life, at least I hope, everyone would have said that the Emperor was naked. It wouldn’t have taken a child to point it out.
So with this in mind, let me first give a caveat; and let us be thinking and reasonable about this please. There is no such thing as a transgendered person. Calling a man a woman is the same thing as calling the naked emperor clothed, and the same goes for calling a eunuch a woman. But the story still holds insight in this case, not because no one saw the Emperor’s nakedness, but because they were all afraid to say that they saw it. So we know that anyone who is willing to speak the truth to a self-deceived and willingly self-duped society is going to catch flack. They may even be fined a lot of money.
There is one more aspect to this. Most people go along to get along until it effects them personally. Here we have some students who are being affected, and they’re calling the emperor naked because a boy wants to share their showers with them.
Speaking out, they knew, could make them the public face of a very private issue.
It could lead their classmates to call them “bigots,” “insensitive,” and “homophobes.”
That’s what happens when you go against popular self-delusion. Pointing out what people know, but don’t want to admit, can make you the target of serious vitriol. But what I find most interesting in this story is the next short paragraph:
But after seeing their high school back down to threats that the U.S. Department of Education would strip away federal funding, and watching school officials overrule their parents, a group of six high school girls in Cook County, Ill., decided to speak out.
There kids are getting it. They’ve watched every wall that they thought was in place, “for the children” bow before a deceived and naked emperor. So they’ve got to take up the standard themselves.
Of course they will lose. But they are at least getting some education, albeit unintended-by-the-institution education, about how things roll with despotism. They will learn that if they don’t want to shower naked in front of boys, they’re going to have to take showers at home, where hopefully reason still reigns supreme. And that, my friends, would be the best lesson they could ever learn for their future, and their children’s future.