Activists are praising a Nebraska school district for its “adorable and inclusive” training initiative designed to make its middle schools more welcoming to trans, queer, and otherwise gender-nonconforming students. The initiative, among other things, encourages teachers to use gender-neutral language whenever possible. Instead of calling students ‘boys and girls’, for instance, which isolates children who identify as neither, the class might come up with a gender-neutral team name (the handout gives ‘purple penguins’ as one such example).
“Omigod, it’s the most adorable thing I don’t even!” cooed one Gender Studies major about the initiative. “A whole class of purple penguin babies I want to adopt them all!”
Of course, readme noted, more important was the positive impacts this would have on all its students, regardless of their gender or presentation. Trans and queer students would benefit from having an environment where their gender was respected, female students would feel more comfortable participating in male-dominated subjects, and even male students would benefit from the destigmatization of ‘girly’ behavior.
The Gender Studies major nodded seriously, then chirped, “But purple penguins!”
Despite the sheer cuteness of that mental image, the initiative drew quite a lot of flak from critics. That may seem a bit odd, until one remembers the cardinal rule of conservative Internet politics: every regulation ever made in order to help a marginalized group is actually an attack on you, personally, and if you don’t respond by telling everyone you know this is exactly the sort of PC bullshit that’s destroying America, the commies win.
As such, commenters soon arrived on news sites to berate the districts’ “idiocy” and bemoan the fate of America today. One even accused the school of promoting “the deconstruction of fundamental family and religious values” because clearly gender diversity is a religious issue. For who could forget 19:12 of Exodus, where the Lord said to Moses, “Take heed to yourselves, that ye shall not buy your daughters Transformers, or let boys wear the color pink, and for the love of Me don’t call anyone a purple penguin, that’s not a real thing.”
Now, this issue holds a special place in readme’s heart, considering readme is itself genderqueer. And it’s never been shy about that fact, or that it has the genitalia of a newspaper, but it wasn’t until recently that readme had figured out just where it lay on the gender spectrum. And as last Saturday was National Coming Out Day, readme feels this is the perfect time to announce to its readers that readme’s gender is, in fact, a purple penguin. It should have been obvious, frankly, since readme is too awesome and adorable to be anything else. So rock on, Lincoln school district, and rock on, purple penguins.