• Christian School Complains Eight-Year-Old Girl Isn’t Girly Enough – They Shame, Reject Christian Tom Boys

Christian School Complains Eight-Year-Old Girl Isn’t Girly Enough – They Shame, Reject Christian Tom Boys

(The links to the 2014 news stories about the Christian school that sent a letter reprimanding a Christian tom boy for her tom boyishness are farther below.)

I saw this, or was reminded of this news story, via Ashley Easter’s Twitter (link) and it reminds me of a post I did on my own blog a few months ago, “Gender Complementarianism Contributes to Gender Confusion“.

The little girl in the news stories linked to below reminds me of me when I was her age. I was also a tom boy and I preferred short hair to wearing it long.

The Bible is not intended to be a rule book for what constitutes girlhood or boyhood – and any time it appears to address those issues, it was bound up in the cultures of the era – and the qualities the Bible asks Christian women to have men are not exempt from having.

It’s absolutely a mistake for Christians in the year 2019 to teach things such as women today should not braid their hair or wear gold jewelry, when such instructions were a.) culturally bound and b.) more about underlying attitudes that drove the behaviors than the behaviors themselves.

Above: Audrey Hepburn had short hair – nobody these days has a problem with this or thinks it’s unfeminine

When I was a girl I did not like playing with Barbie dolls, wearing frilly dresses, or the color pink.

When I was a girl, I preferred wearing cut off jean shorts with sneakers, and watching Adam West as Bat Man, and I enjoyed reading my big brother’s MARVEL comic books, climbing trees, and watching the Planet of the Apes weekly television show. The Bible has nothing to say about any of that.

This Christian school, though, would insist that me enjoying cut-off jean shorts or watching Bat Man was not adhering to “biblical gender norms,” and they might even make the admission that it was not in line with “traditional gender norms” (they actually used that phrase in one of the articles below).

As to the second phrase (“traditional gender norms”), I may agree – but then, they would be admitting that their idea of how a girl should dress, wear her hair, or what entertainment she should consume are driven by the secular culture, not by the Bible.

Teaching girls that they are not meeting some Christian’s arbitrary standard of “girliness,” or not meeting some Christian group’s personal interpretation of what they may assume the Bible teaches about girl-i-ness (and I honestly do not recall the Bible instructing little girls specific behaviors or hobbies or fashions to pursue to meet God’s standard of girl-i-ness), creates shame in girls.

It can also, as it did in me when I was younger, make girls feel ashamed to be a girl – I hated being a girl, and that was in large part due to these very girlhood or complementarian teachings I was subjected to in sermons, in a Christian family, and in Southern Baptist churches that all pushed these “traditional gender norms” of how a girl “ought” to be.

To this day, I am still not meeting these sexist, ridiculous, and un-biblical rules and standards that Christian schools like this one say women “should” have and live by (concerning hair style, hobby choices, etc).
And I’m okay with that- I mean, I’m okay with not living up to this idiotic school’s notions of femininity. It’s my life to live. I’m not living it by their judgments, but I do feel sorry for the girls who are still subjected to this crap.

I’ve got more to say under all these links…

Christian school complains 8-year-old girl isn’t girly enough

March 2014

LYNCHBURG, Va. — An 8-year-old Virginia girl has left her private, Christian school after administrators complained that her appearance was not sufficiently feminine, CBS affiliate WDBJ reported Tuesday.

Sunnie Kahle has short hair and while she likes teddy bears and bracelets, she also enjoys collecting coins, hunting knives and autographed baseballs.

“It’s fun,” she explained, when asked about her hobbies.

“Sunnie realizes she’s a female, but she wants to do boy things,” Doris Thompson, Sunnie’s great-grandmother and legal guardian, told WDBJ. “She wants to play rough and tough.”

Thompson has raised Sunnie since the girl was an infant. When she turned 5, Sunnie asked for a short haircut, her great-grandmother said. “She had hair down to her waist and she wanted to give it to a child with cancer,” said Thompson. “After we cut her hair she started wanting to wear jeans and a T-shirt. She didn’t want to wear her frilly dresses anymore.”

Sunnie said her classmates would occasionally ask whether she was a boy or a girl, but she said the question did not hurt her feelings.

The issue caught the attention of administrators at Timberlake Christian School, where Sunnie was a student.

Elementary principal Becky Bowman sent home a letter last month, reminding Thompson of the school’s religious affiliation and its policy of refusing students who contradict a “biblical lifestyle.”

“We believe that unless Sunnie and her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education,” Bowman wrote in the letter, which was given to WDBJ7 by Thompson.

Thompson said she was offended by the letter’s language and its references to biblical passages about sexual immorality.

“To claim that we are condoning sexual immorality in our home is nonsense,” Thompson said. “We are Christians. We understand the Bible. Sunnie knows it very well. She has accepted Christ.”

Thompson says Sunnie is simply a tomboy, and that she’s too young to understand sexual orientation or gender issues.

“If my child grows up to be homosexual or transgendered, I will love her that much more,” Thompson said.

Next story or so below – A girl wearing her hair short is not going to turn her into a Transgender person or into a lesbian. Long hair does not equal femininity.

[Christian] School says 8-year-old student not feminine enough – March 2014

8-year-old girl’s appearance is beyond ‘hairstyle and tomboy issue,’ Christian school says

Sunnie Kahle’s great-grandmother said a teacher at Timberlake Christian Schools raised concerns about the girl’s gender identity. The school says Sunnie ought to dress and behave more femininely.

Snippets from article:

That same year, Thompson said, Sunnie decided she wanted to wear boy-style clothing and cut her hair short. She gave the extra hair away to a child with cancer.

Thompson said the girl’s pre-K teacher raised questions and concerns with her about Sunnie’s gender identity and behavior, so Thompson sought an outside opinion.

“I took her to the doctor and I asked the doctor and he said, ‘Leave that child alone,’” Thompson explained.

She said she feels confident about her choice to not try to push Sunnie to be more feminine and to let her make decisions for herself.

Thompson said Sunnie, who now attends public school in Campbell County, goes to counseling and gets professional help for mood swings, but that counseling is not specifically targeted at discussing gender identity.

As to this blurb on the page above:

Sunnie Kahle’s great-grandmother said a teacher at Timberlake Christian Schools raised concerns about the girl’s gender identity. The school says Sunnie ought to dress and behave more femininely.

What does it mean to “dress and behave more femininely”? Short hair, or no hair, is

Above: Marilyn Monroe with short hair – then and now she was considered plenty feminine

also feminine.

If a person is born female, whatever hair style she has, is by definition feminine, since it’s on her head. Assuming “long hair” equals “feminine” is a cultural perspective, not a biblical one.

(Just because the Bible may describe something from another culture 2,000 or more years ago does not mean it’s prescriptive and an ideal to be followed by everyone, everywhere.

I would assume that a lot of men in the New Testament era wore robes with sandals, and maybe beards were in style too: that does not mean all men today should or must wear sandals, robes, or grow a beard. It does not mean that having a beard or wearing sandals is necessarily or instantly “masculine.”)

Assuming that being sweet, gentle, nurturing, docile, and passive are “feminine traits” is also more social conditioning and cultural biases.

Men of the Bible (including Jesus of Nazareth) sometimes showed the qualities of gentleness, compassion, docility, passivity and so on – these are HUMAN traits, which are also traits of God, because God, the Bible said, created MALE AND FEMALE IN HIS IMAGE.

(See also: The Changing Jesus of Complementarians – A Pink Jesus for Women and a Blue Jesus For Men Makes for a Jesus with Multiple Personality Disorder)

The Bible says that some traits Americans – especially American Christian schools and gender complementarians – consider feminine – such as being gentle, kind, joyfull – are “fruits of the Spirit” that all Christians should display – it does not say that these are characteristics that only girls and women will, can, or should have.

More links and commentary about this news story:

Eight-year-old told she’s too tomboyish for Christian school

Christian school claims 8-year-old tomboy isn’t feminine enough

This Tom Boy Was Kicked Out School for Defying God Based  Gender Roles – by Esther Bergdahl

Regarding the above:
Hair length, or manner of dress are not “roles.”

Whether a woman works as a leader, teacher, plumber, or school teacher – those are roles. How a woman wears her hair is a matter of physical appearance, it’s not a “role.”

Here are snippets from that article:

By Esther Bergdahl | March 26, 2014

One of the best lessons we can teach our kids is to love themselves and to be themselves. Unfortunately for one 8-year-old, her school decided she was doing both of those things wrong.

Sunnie Kahle likes the things kids like: sports, sneakers, being with her friends. She also cuts her hair short. She identifies as a girl, but for administrators at Timberlake Christian School in Timberlake, Va., her appearance introduced too much confusion among her fellow students.

Kahle, who lives with her grandparents, received a letter from the school saying that her gender expression “disturbed the classroom environment,” and that if she did not alter her appearance and behavior to better align with her “God-ordained identity,” she would not be welcomed back.

The letter included Bible verses to support its position, apparently completely glossing over everything Jesus ever said about love and acceptance.

Kahle’s grandparents refused to fall in line with the school’s demands and enrolled her in a public school, but Kahle remains distraught. She misses her friends and cries frequently. Still, her guardians believe that asking her to change everything about herself is a poor lesson, and too high a price to pay.

“How do you tell a child when she wants to wear pants, a shirt, and go out and play in the mud and so forth, how do you tell her, ‘No, you can’t, you’ve got to wear a pink bow in your hair, and you’ve got to let your hair grow out long,’ how do you do that?” said her grandmother, Doris Thompson. “I can’t do that.”

Eight-year-old Kahle is hardly the first kid lately to be targeted for gender policing.

Nine-year-old Grayson Bruce faced bullying by his own school in North Carolina for his My Little Pony lunchbox.

Bruce’s treatment sparked a backlash, with thousands coming to his defense, including the head writer of the My Little Ponyshow, Meghan McCarthy.

…As for Timberlake Christian School, an institution that believes a child can encourage “sexual immorality” needs to re-examine its priorities — and maybe take a second look at the Bible.
—– end snippets from article—-

Above: Jean Seberg with short hair. Nobody mistook her for a man, either, or had an issue with her short style.

Far as I am concerned, Sunnie Kahle’s grandmother is an absolute hero and rock star for not caving into the backwards Christian school, for letting her kid be herself, and refusing to cram her into a man-made box of rules.

As to this school’s commentary about “sexual immorality” being a concern – I was a tom boy at age eight, as Sunnie is, I still don’t conform to their checklist of Approved Womanly Qualities, yet I don’t engage in “sexual immorality.” I am not sexually active – I am an adult, hetero, cis celibate.

A woman refusing to have long hair, or not wanting to wear dresses, is not going to turn that woman into a whore or a lesbian, or into a woman who desires to get a fake penis and become a “Trans Man,” if that is what that school is concerned about.

School Bans Tomboy for ‘Direction She’s Heading’ by S. Lupkin – ABC News

And as to that headline above: a girl having short hair, wearing pants (instead of dresses) is not going to cause her to become trans or a lesbian.

Snippets from that reportage by Lupkin:

Teachers at Timberlake Christian Schools started asking Doris Thompson whether her granddaughter was a lesbian shortly after the little girl chopped off her waist-length hair to donate it to cancer patients, Thompson said.

Sunnie Kahle was only 3 at the time.

…. Although Bowman wrote in the letter that Sunnie seemed to be having gender-identity issues, Thompson said Sunnie always says shes a girl, though she happens to like collecting baseball cards and rocks, and practicing using her BB gun with her grandfather.

Sunnie, whose mother is unable to raise her, has short hair, and preferred to wear khaki slacks with her Timberlake uniform instead of a skirt, something many of the other girls did, too, Thompson said. “I guess it was her hair,” Thompson said. “I don’t know.”

Sunnie’s pediatrician has repeatedly told Thompson not to even think about her sexual orientation until Sunnie reaches puberty.

When she told a Timberlake teacher that, the teacher told her, “You need to find a Christian doctor,” Thompson said.

How perverse is that Christian school that they would think a three year old girl is a lesbian at all (i.e. sexualizing a child), and specifically because her hair was cut short? What if she had to get chemo treatment and all her hair fell out? Would they assume she was a lesbian then too?

And some school employee thinking she knows better than the kid’s own doctor? How arrogant and obnoxious.

And how does the employee know that the doctor is not a Christian? It’s possible that the doctor is a Christian who does not agree with the wacko, paranoid, gendered ideology of that school.

Liberty Counsel Defends Christian School’s Right To Demand Tomboy Student Follow ‘Biblical Standards’ On Gender

Christian school tries to dictate girl’s “God-ordained identity”


by M. E. Williams

…In the letter, elementary principal Becky Bowman stated, “We believe that unless Sunnie and her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education” and warned “We do not want her future years be filled with confusion and conflicting input from those we are guiding her.” [sic]

In a written response, Thompson  told Bowman that the child is being treated for mood disorders but that “Sunnie and her family clearly understand that God made her female. Sunnie’s psychiatrist states that Sunnie IS NOT homosexual. The doctor is upset that you being ‘Christian’ would label an eight-year-old adolescent…. God loves all his children and I believe that Sunnie is special.”

Eight-year-old girl Sunnie Kahle pulled out of a Christian school ‘for being too much like a boy’

School contacted grandparents to advise that Sunnie learns to ‘understand that God has made her female’ or consider moving schools

An eight-year-old child has been pulled out of a Christian school after being told she is too much like a boy and needs to understand that ‘God made her female’.

The child was taken out of school by her grandparents after they received a letter from the principal informing them that Sunnie Kahle’s appearance did not meet the school’s required biblical standards, because she was not feminine enough.

 Sunnie has short hair and wears jeans and t-shirts to school, her grandmother Doris Thompson told The Associated Press, and enjoys playing sports.

Ms Thompson said she was left “stunned” when the Timberlake Christian School in Lynchburg, Virginia, contacted her to request that her grandaughter behave more in a manner they considered to be more female – or consider transferring to another institution.

…The letter [from the Christian school to Sunnie’s grandparents] also advised that the school can deny enrolment based on applicants they consider to be condoning “sexual immorality,” homosexuality or alternative gender identity.

It also advised that Sunnie’s class mates were feeling confused about her gender.

“Sunnie realises she’s a female, but she wants to do boy things,” Ms Thompson told WDBJ. “She wants to play rough and tough.”

About the above: I am not a liberal SJW who is into Transgenderism.

I understand good and well that I was born female – but being born female does not mean having to have long hair, wear dresses, put on lipstick and mascara, or only play games or with toys approved of by Christian schools.

The Bible does not have such a check list of what constitutes femininity or masculinity, either.

How absolutely obnoxious for any Christian or Christian school to shame some girl, and force her to try to fit their gender ideals (not the Bible’s, but theirs), and to punish her for the ignorance or stupidity of her classmates.

Above: Marilyn Monroe – again. She often wore her hair short to mid-length, and still, after being dead for 50+ years by this point, regularly tops “Ten Most Sexy Women Ever” pop culture lists. Short hair does NOT equal “masculine.” Long hair doesn’t always equal “feminine.”

It’s not the kid’s fault if her classmates cannot tell her gender from her physical appearance.

Would this Christian school also take issue with infants whose biological sex is not readily apparent?

I don’t know about you, but I can never tell just from looking at an infant under a year old if it’s male or female, unless the parent has dressed the kid up in culturally-sanctioned gender tip-offs, such as a blue top for a boy and a pink bow on a kid’s head if it’s a girl.

Kids at around the age of Sunnie Kahle – eight, nine years old – can sometimes appear ambiguous to others, regarding gender as well.

I absolutely think that gender role obsessed Christians go too far, that in their anxiety about issues such as transgenderism, (e.g., people born with penises wanting to identify as women and being allowed to enter women’s restrooms and so forth), they over-reach.

They overcompensate.

They want to fight liberal SJW transgender type issues by forcing all girls into one box and all boys into another, and they want to define what those boxes are, and how those boxes are constructed (eg., all girls should have long hair, play with dolls, and wear dresses).

This sort of thing will actually create resentment and confusion in the kids who do not fit the gender stereotypes that Christians want to cram them into.

Again, I discussed that in this older post on this blog.

We’re now in 2019. We have people born biologically male who are insisting they are female, and many cities, states, or businesses are allowing these men to enter women’s bathrooms and changing rooms – and in some cases, these are cis men only pretending to be trans, so that they can gain access to little girls and women to video them nude, partially nude, or to rape or grope them.

For a Christian school to judge, shame, penalize, or reject a biological female who identifies as female for simply not (in their opinions) looking “feminine” enough, they’re actually doing damage here.

I’d be more concerned about actual men masquerading as women in order to rape female domestic violence shelter inhabitants and so on (see further examples here /  here /  here  / here / here) then I’d be concerned with a little girl who identifies as a girl who is a tom boy.

The little girl who wears t-shirts with jeans is not likely to rape or fondle another female student while in the girl’s bathroom.

Can you say that about all the biological men identifying as women now? Because I cannot (again, see examples here /  here /  here  / here / here). The school’s priorities are totally off.

More On This Blog:

 Gender Complementarianism Contributes to Gender Confusion

Worldwide, Girls Are More Likely Than Boys To Be Illiterate, To Experience Higher Levels of Physical and Sexual Violence, and to be Targeted For Infanticide – by Gospel For Asia

Hello, Complementarian Greg Morse of Desiring God Site: Actress Says (Vintage) Disney Films Made Her Question Her Sexuality When She Was a Kid

Conservatives Still Misunderstanding and Misrepresenting the Concepts / Terms Toxic Masculinity and Traditional Masculinity – The Christian Post Editorial by M. Brown

Toxic Masculinity – What It Is and What It Is Not – How Most Conservatives Misunderstand What It Is

Conservatives Rage Over Report That Finds Toxic Masculinity is Bad For Men’s Health by Z. Ford

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