Calls Come to Defund NPR After ‘Nonbinary Child, Family Explore Identity’ Segment

The family gathers in the entryway of their house before heading out to the playground. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Jesse Costa/WBUR

National Public Radio (NPR) Boston affiliate WBUR aired an interview with a Massachusetts third grader and his parents describing their experience since being “startled” by their child’s announcement that he feels like a “boy-girl” at the mere age of six. Many listeners took to Twitter to voice their concerns over what they view as “child abuse,” with some calling to defund the taxpayer-funded radio network.

The Thursday broadcast and accompanying essay published describing the family’s experience with the child, identified as Hallel, who “was born a boy” but has conflicting feelings concerning his gender and is also described as diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. 

Hallel’s mother maintained that she and her husband were “not going to force [Hallel] to fit in a certain box.”

A month after the then-six-year-old Hallel declared his new status, he asked his parents to refer to him as “they.” 

After being asked what it feels like to be a “boy-girl,” the nine-year-old explained that though it was “hard,” he doesn’t feel different from others.

“I just feel like myself, and that’s it,” Hallel said. “I don’t feel that different from anybody else.”

Hallel, referred to as a “brister” (brother-sister) to two younger siblings, also stated, “There’s nothing specific for boys or girls. I just feel like a girl, as well as a boy.”

Hallel’s father, Ari, described his “internal squeamishness” when dropping his child off at school in a dress, though he learned to adjust over time.

In the school’s sex-segregated restrooms, Hallel has been told dozens of times by schoolmates that he is in the wrong one, despite his school “system” for choosing which bathroom to use on a particular day.

“On Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I go into the boys’ or men’s bathroom,” Hallel said. “On Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, I go into the women’s bathroom. And on Sunday, I just go to whatever bathroom’s to my right.”

Due to a Massachusetts law his parents helped lobby for, Hallel is free to use the bathroom of his choice. 

NPR’s decision to broadcast such content was met with much criticism, with many describing the segment as akin to child abuse and some calling for all-out defunding of the taxpayer-funded network. 

“Tax dollars celebrating child abuse,” podcaster Derek Hunter wrote:

“This is exhausting,” political commentator Ian Miles Cheong wrote:

“A 9 yr old child can feel like a PBJ rather than a boloney & cheese,” author Jim Hanson wrote. “Not that they’re a girl rather than a boy.”

“This is literally child abuse, there is no excuse for mentally tormenting an innocent child by entertaining their imagination to this degree,” journalist Harry Khachatrian wrote:

“Can we put an end to this insane child abuse?” journalist John Cardillo asked:

“If he felt like a unicorn, @NPR would be advocating for his parents to chop off his hands and feet and replace them with hooves and attach a horn to his head,” wrote Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor, using a #DefundNPR hashtag:

“And this is what the social engineers are forcing upon the entire world now,” Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote:

While Democrats and the broader left regularly frame human sexual dimorphism as an arbitrary social construct, many see the frenzied entertaining of children’s curiosity as a form of abuse.

In February, former HUD secretary Dr. Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, described the pushing of left-wing transgender ideology upon children as “child abuse” on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.

“Biology tells us that there are males and there are females, and there’s a reason for that, and we also know that the human brain is an incredibly complex organ and it’s not fully developed until your mid-to late-twenties,” Carson said.

“So why would you be asking a pre-adolescent about these complex issues?” Carson asked. 

“Why would we even be complicating their lives? Children are curious by nature, and of course, they’re going to ask questions and explore things. That doesn’t mean that they want to change their sex. And to confuse them in that way, I think, is child abuse. It certainly has nothing to do with science. These radical things are actually going to ruin people’s lives long term,” he said.

President Joe Biden recently made history by nominating Rachel Levine, born Richard Levine, as assistant secretary of health, making Levine the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the United States ever.

In 2017, Levine recommended “accelerating” cross-sex hormones for homeless teens who are suffering from gender dysphoria and estranged from their parents.

During Levine’s Senate confirmation hearing last month, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), in reference to Levine’s 2017 statements, asked if Levine supported government intervention to override parental consent to give a child “puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and or amputation surgery of breasts and genitalia.”

Levine refused to answer Paul’s questions, including one asking if Levine believed that “minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?”

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.

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