"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Boys And Girls Together–How A Transgender Line Dancer Made History In Old New England

Lefferts Academy is a private boarding school in New England, not quite the stature of Andover, Exeter, and St. Grottlesex, but holding its own in the league of pre-Ivy League institutions.  The campus is not unlike many residential colleges at Yale, the course of study like the tightly woven courses at Harvard, and the teachers all drawn from the schools that most graduates will enter.  In its heyday - and again mirroring the Ivy League - it was an all-boys school, paired with Chambers, a girls school across the river but clearly male in student body, atmosphere, and orientation.

Bobby Phipps was the son of a former Lefferts graduate and thanks to his father’s marvelous tales of the green, the Senior Path, speedboating on the river, dining in the old colonial dining room, and girls from Miss Porters and Oxford, he wanted to go there.  Thanks to good grades and high praise from the headmaster of his small country day school, he was admitted.

Lefferts had changed, however, and had turned the corner from traditional English legacy to woke activism.  It had become well-known for its progressive stance on race-gender-ethnicity, had one of the most diverse campuses in the Northeast, and  had broken new ground with its transgender dorm.

Actively encouraging non-binary students to apply, it met the demand by building the Camilla B. Larimer Hall, named for a famous transgender activist who, after a long career as a line dancer and then musical lead in a series of popular nightclubs in New Orleans and Chicago, turned her attention to gay rights.   She (more properly ‘they’ in the new lexicon celebrating a transgender’s two sexes) proudly preached sexual inclusivity and was much in demand as a speaker at universities, colleges and private schools like Lefferts.  She always appeared in the frills, sequins, baubles, bouffant wigs, and stiletto heels that had become her trademark at the clubs.  She, completely transformed except for a raspy, male voice that had bedeviled transformative surgeons, has become the poster girl for transgenderism.

Who can be a drag queen? RuPaul's trans comments fuel calls for inclusion |  RuPaul | The Guardian

Her in-your-face activism was exactly what the movement required, she said, and no more of these women in cashmere sweaters and pearls.  She was the real thing, no mistake about it, and wanted the conservative world to know it.  At her last appearance at Lefferts she had been roundly applauded by school administrators, teachers, and students.  

The parents, not unlike Anson Phipps, Bobby’s father, were less enthusiastic about the radical changes at Lefferts, but once on campus, and once Miss Larimer had gone, he could only be reminded of Mr. Evert, the cool and impressive history teacher who wore bow ties and limped from a war wound taken in a heroic battle in France; or Mr. Brown, the English teacher who had written a short story about an egret and went on to be nominated for a Pulitzer prize; or Mr. Weathers, a wisp of an organist who shook the chapel with Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

After Camilla’s untimely death – the scandal was of national proportions, very seamy and unseemly for a woman with such political rectitude and commitment (something about the Garden District, ‘untoward’ behavior, and a bullet to the heart) she only grew in stature.  She had obviously been the victim of the rabid homophobia in the city (untrue according to police), and deserved acclaim rather than censure.  Her picture was on every gay club’s walls, on every gay site on social media, and on the progressive national media. MSNBC ran a feature on her life from a brawling bad boy in the slums of St. Louis to frilly runway star and political firebrand.

Image result for images gay nightclubs

It was only a matter of time before Lefferts took decisive action, began actively pursuing transgender candidates, and began construction of the Camilla B. Larimer Hall.  Now Lefferts would have an exclusively non-binary dorm to match the all-black Simon Pettis Hall and the small Latino Cesar Chavez Hall.  Although challenged by some outraged alumni on Constitutional grounds – Lefferts, they said, was clearly discriminatory and segregationist – the policy remained and building continued.

The problem was that Lefferts’ administrators had overestimated the demand. There were simply not enough transgenders to fill a small classroom let alone a dorm.  After all, transgenders accounted for only a fraction of one percent of the national population, so what was the school thinking?  So, to accommodate this disappointing interest, Lefferts modified its promotional literature and proudly boasted an ‘all-gay’ dorm.  The response was encouraging and Lefferts became the go-to school for those of ‘alternate sexuality’, far outpacing even Lawrenceville and Choate.

Things inside Larimer Hall were not good, for by letting in gay men and women of all stripes and positions on the gender spectrum, the school paved the way to hostile dissension and eventual internecine battles.  The transgenders were especially indignant.  The hall had been created for them, and now they were being inundated with apostates.  

What were these transgender wannabees – agenderflux, angenital, demigender, and girlflux – doing in their dorm?  And of course, members of these and other gender identities either colluded or fought.  If there were enough angenitals, for example, to form a power group, they bullied their way to influence and authority.  If not, they worked and wheedled their way within larger, gender ‘families’.  The place was a chaotic mess.

Dimensions of Gender - Diverse & Resilient

In addition, savvy parents knew that with a little fudging on the Lefferts admission application form, their underperforming children could easily be accepted to Lefferts.  So many high schoolers having already been indoctrinated about sexual identity and its fluid nature, no one had a problem putting ‘gay’ on the form; but when they realized that they would be lodged  within a teeming, live, gay and transgender community, they complained and wanted out.  

The school didn’t know what to do.  One verse of the gender fluid doctrine was that one could change sexual identities at will, so they let the complainers stay.  What they did not count on was the law of unintended consequences.  Not only had Larimer Hall become a seething hotbed of violent sexual jealousies and conspiracy, but those who had left it were loud and uninhibited in their acid remarks.  Parents got into the fray, donations declined, and the school was in trouble. 

The next school year Lefferts dismantled the experiment, walked back their radical genderism, and declared ‘integration, inclusivity, and diversity for all’.  Back to the way things were – a smattering of gay students tolerated but not lionized, a desired overrepresentation of black students, at least 25 percent of the student body, and a return to a less woke, more traditional Three R’s curriculum. 

The damage had been done, however.  The real story of Clarissa B. Larimer came out, New Orleans scandal and all, the whole story of a riotous gay dorm made the news, and applications to this once respected, if not storied school declined to historic lows.  Lefferts was now taking all comers, depleting its scholarship reserves, and within five years it declared bankruptcy and disappeared.

‘They tried’, said disappointed progressives and gender activists. Homophobia like racism was endemic and growing in the country, so Lefferts' fate was not surprising.  What can you expect from an ignorant, backward nation?

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