Creation Museum Upset that Museum Conference Was Trans Inclusive

Creation Museum Upset that Museum Conference Was Trans Inclusive June 5, 2019

Answers in Genesis’ Dr. Georgia Purdom and Dr. Jennifer Rivera went to the annual meeting of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) last month, and they were not impressed.

Drs. Purdom and Rivera are responsible for designing many of the wonderful programs, workshops, and other educational activities we offer here at the Creation Museum. But the potential usefulness of the AAM meeting was completely eclipsed by the “virtue signaling” and political correctness of the organizers.

I’m going to call bananas from the outset.

The “virtue signaling” we’re about to hear about was gender inclusive bathrooms and preferred pronoun badges that could be added to name tags. That’s it. And you know what? I just went to the conference website and pulled up a full program schedule. There are tons of sessions and workshops on a variety of topics from evaluative thinking in teens to using food and drink in storytelling, from working together with university archives to engaging students in exhibit design. If this conference wasn’t useful to Purdom and Rivera, it’s not because of its bathrooms. It’s because the Creation Museum isn’t really a museum.

I once went to the Creation Museum right after completing an internship at an actual museum and a degree that included courses in museum studies. What struck me most about the Creation Museum, during that visit, was how very not like a museum it is. I had a hard time focusing on the content, I was so horrified by the layout. I’d recently completed assignments where I visited museums and wrote up reviews on their layout and format. This was bad.

So, on that level, I get it. It’s hard to involve students in exhibit design when you’ve already created all your exhibits and you’re not going to rotate them, because you set your museum up in a maze-like fashion and you can’t. It’s hard to involve teens in critical thinking when you’ve already decided what all the answers are. You can’t exactly work with university archives when your museum is showcasing a fairy tale. You’d think the talk on using food and drink in storytelling would at least be interesting, though. They could serve wine, a la Noah’s drunkenness after the ark.

Wow, that got way more dark and sarcastic than I’d intended.

My point is this—this conference had many useful talks and workshops for individuals working in museums. There’s no reason for gender inclusive bathrooms and preferred pronoun badges to “completely eclipse” the “potential usefulness” of this conference. Unless, of course,Q the problem was Purdom and Rivera deciding to let this ruin the conference for them.

One of the first things Georgia and Jennifer noticed when they arrived were the signs posted outside the restrooms.

All Gender Restroom
As you can see, the AAM invited everyone to use whichever restroom facility they wanted. Now, that view is anti-science, anti-genetics, anti-biology, and anti the truth about male and female. Jennifer said that, because the lines to the women’s restroom were long, several women left the line and used the men’s restrooms since the signs invited them to use whichever restroom they wanted. This is probably not what the organizers had in mind!

Seriously? This sign isn’t bothering anyone. All it says is that people are allowed to use the restroom that matches their gender identity, and that people shouldn’t stare at or harass others in the bathroom. Bear in mind that this conference was held in Louisiana. I doubt that state has much in the way of protections for trans people, so it’s likely that its conference centers wouldn’t either. The conference organizers took this step to ensure that everyone had access.

And it doesn’t sound like either Purdom or Rivera had any negative experiences with thisat all. They used the bathroom they would usually have used. They did their business; other people did theirs. Nothing happened. And yet somehow, this is enough to “eclipse the usefulness” of the entire conference. And they call liberals snowflakes!

Purdom and Rivera’s complaint is that trans people were granted access to the bathrooms that match their gender identity. That’s it.

What about the preferred pronoun badges?

In a further denial that we’ve been created male and female (Genesis 1:27), the convention featured ribbon stickers for attendees to attach to their name tags if they so chose. These stickers announced one’s preferred pronoun, and they came in three options: he/him/his, she/her/hers, and fill in the blank for whatever pronoun they preferred.

Preferred Pronoun Tag

During some of the presentations, the slides even showed the speakers’ preferred pronouns.

Here we go again. Not only are these badges innocuous, they were also optional. If you didn’t want one, you didn’t have to stick one to your name tag. It was that easy. 

And that’s it. No really—that’s it. The conference put up a sign stating that trans people are welcome to use the bathroom of their choice, and put some preferred pronoun badges on the sign-in table in case anyone wanted them. And that was enough to ruin the conference for Purdom and Rivera.

Clearly, the AAM wants to be seen first and foremost as an LGBTQIA+ ally. But, really, it’s an outright denial of biological and biblical reality—we’re created male and female. A denial of this truth leads to confusion and chaos, as was exhibited throughout the convention.

What confusion and what chaos?

And then, of course, there’s this:

It’s interesting that the AAM was being very cautious not to offend anyone and to come across as welcoming, tolerant, and accepting to everyone . . . except for Christians or others who believe that we’re created male and female. They don’t care if they offend or isolate Christians, a trend we increasingly see in a culture that claims to be tolerant. What we see is that they are only tolerant of views that agree with theirs! It makes you wonder how many museums that belong to AAM have policies and teaching that align with these secular, unbiblical views.

In what way were Purdom and Rivera not accepted at this conference? This was a conference about museums. Purdom and Rivera were allowed to do what everyone else did—go to the bathroom, put on name tacks, and attend talks. No one harmed them. No one shamed them. No one isolated or mistreated them.

The real problem here is this: there is a group of people (conservative evangelical Christians) who believe mot only that another group of people (trans people) should not have rights, but also that they should not receive any negative social consequences for saying this. This is not how real life works. I’m sure southern white supremacists during the civil rights era felt exactly the same way. They believed that white people and black people should not intermarry. They had the right to believe that, but they did not have the right to have their view accepted as reasonable by other people.

And there’s another thing that’s bothering me here. The last time I looked, conservatives were pointing a microphone at college students protesting microaggressions and bellowing “you do not have the right not to be offended” at them. And how here we have Purdam and Rivera crying about how very offended they are by the inclusion of trans people at the AAM conference, and how that’s not fair. Say what now? What gives?

As Purdam and Rivera conclude:

So really, this conference turned out to be a gathering not primarily about museum programs and workshops, but the AAM allowed it to be an LGBTQ agenda-driven conference disguised as a museum conference.

Say what now?

I just searched the conference program. There were no workshops or talks about LGBTQ issues. None. There was a “diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion mixer” at a cafe one afternoon, and there was a closed door LGBTQ alliance leadership meeting one morning, but that’s it. The idea that this conference was actually “an LGBTQ agenda-driven conference disguised as a museum conference” beggars the imagination. There is no sense of proportion here.

In all of this, did Purdom or Rivera ever spare a thought to trans people? Consider the challenges a conference like this would prevent for trans people without these very minimal accommodations. The bathroom problem. People being confused as to how to refer to you in some situations, depending on your presentation. And then remember that Purdom and Rivera don’t think trans people should have these accommodations, because these accommodations make them uncomfortable. Because of their religious beliefs. Even though these accommodations literally don’t affect them. 

I don’t think people like Purdom and Rivera understand how they sound to anyone outside of their echo chamber.

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