ABC debuted the sitcom "Modern Family" in 2009 in part to push a broader acceptance of same-sex couples. But the cultural deconstructionists cannot rest until the mission is complete, so then they pushed it even further, agitating for a broader acceptance of same-sex marriage as just as sacred as traditional marriage. Now, the deconstructionists are doing it again, this time pushing transgender acceptance...with a transgender child actor.
This new initiative came just a few weeks after transgender actors became the latest social justice cause pushed at the Emmy Awards. When he accepted a highly politicized Emmy award for the second year in a row, Jeffrey Tambor of "Transparent" pleaded that he should be the last "cisgender" actor — an actor who "identifies" with his or her biological sex — to play a transgender on television. He said: "Please give transgender talent a chance. Give them auditions. Give them their story."
This trend was already underway. One CNN writer gushed that "'Modern Family' is truly living up to its name." It hired Jackson Millarker, an 8 year old from Atlanta, Georgia, to play a transgender boy who pressures the gay characters, Cam and Mitchell, to explore whether they are tolerant enough. Cam and Mitchell are upset when their adopted daughter, Lily, calls her new playmate Tom (formerly Tina) a "weirdo."
You read that correctly. The child is 8 years old.
When the episode aired on Sept. 28, Millarker was on screen for just seconds, and the transgender plot was a mere fraction of the half-hour. Cam and Mitchell first imagine themselves winning parenting awards for their daughter's commitment to tolerance. When the "weirdo" moment arrives, they're upset, of course. One says to the other, "One little spat, and her instinct is to go all baby bigot on him?"
Then, Mitchell's father asks how they would react if their Lily decided to become "Lou." They want to approve but struggle with the thought. In horror, Cam says, "Are we not being as tolerant as we think?" Mitchell replies, "But that's our thing, lording our tolerance over others."
That's a fitting slogan for "Modern Family" and the Emmy-awarding elite.
Gay actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays Mitchell, tweeted that he was "super proud of this weeks episode." The director of the episode, Ryan Case, took to Instagram to post a photo of herself with Millarker with the caption: "This is Jackson Millarker. He's 8 years old, from Atlanta, and just happens to be transgender. He plays Lily's friend Tom in this week's Modern Family and he's wonderful. One of the many reasons I love being a part of this show."
People magazine touted Stacey and Jen, the two lesbian parents of Jackson, who say that he "transitioned at 6 years old." They boasted: "We followed Jackson's lead from a very early age and supported him in every aspect of his transition. ... He was always a very gender-neutral child, but at the age of 4 he started experiencing intense anxiety in his daily life." They insisted that they gave the child "the freedom to express himself however he felt comfortable."
You read that correctly, as well. Four years old.
In today's oh-so-tolerant culture, it seems no one ever opposed this child's denial of actual biology. Millarker insisted on being referred to with male pronouns at age 6, and his parents said: "He entered second grade as his true self, a boy. His family, friends, and school have been very supportive from the beginning. He is now a confident, happy, healthy young man."
They loved ABC's invitation, saying, "Jackson has been a young activist in our community and he knew that 'Modern Family' would portray the role of a transgender child in a positive light."
Apparently, America's culture is unanimous. If millions of you disagree, then you're prehistoric, stuck in the dark days of...2009.
Question: Have you ever known a 6 year old who questioned (without any prompting) his or her own gender? We pose that question to the entire national readership of this column.
Disney-owned ABC runs a Mickey Mouse "news" operation.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.