Boys who identify as girls, the Obama Department of Education has decreed, must be allowed access to girls' facilities as well as girls' athletic teams. This is liberal egalitarianism on steroids. The New York Times reports:
Federal education authorities, staking out their firmest position yet on an increasingly contentious issue, found Monday that an Illinois school district violated anti-discrimination laws when it did not allow a transgender student who identifies as a girl and participates on a girls’ sports team to change and shower in the girls’ locker room without restrictions.The rest of the article sheds more light on the matter. For example:
Education officials said the decision was the first of its kind on the rights of transgender students, which are emerging as a new cultural battleground in public schools across the country. In previous cases, federal officials had been able to reach settlements giving access to transgender students in similar situations. But in this instance, the school district in Palatine, Ill., has not yet come to an agreement, prompting the federal government to threaten sanctions. The district, northwest of Chicago, has indicated a willingness to fight for its policy in court.
In a letter sent Monday, the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education told the Palatine district that requiring a transgender student to use private changing and showering facilities was a violation of that student’s rights under Title IX, a federal law that bans sex discrimination. The student, who identifies as female but was born male, should be given unfettered access to girls’ facilities, the letter said. The Education Department gave 30 days to the officials of Township High School District 211 to reach a solution or face enforcement, which could include administrative law proceedings or a Justice Department court action. The district could lose some or all of its Title IX funding.
Officials in the Palatine district, which serves more than 12,000 students, have framed their position as a middle ground. The transgender student in question plays on a girls’ sports team, is called “she” by school staff and is referred to by a female name. But the district, citing privacy concerns, had required her to change clothes and shower separately.The Obama administration and the ACLU are saying that the rights of this one transgender student to express "her" identity as a female trumps the rights of privacy of the hundreds of other female students. That may strike you as jaw-droppingly moronic, but we're on a sexual slippery slope in this country and there's no place on the slope where we can arrest the slide and say this is enough.
The district said she was allowed to change inside the girls’ locker room, but only behind a curtain. The student, who has not been publicly identified, has said she would probably use that curtain to change. But she and the federal government have insisted that she be allowed to make that decision voluntarily, and not because of requirements by the district.
“What our client wants is not hard to understand: She wants to be accepted for who she is and to be treated with dignity and respect — like any other student,” said John Knight, the director of the L.G.B.T. and H.I.V. Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, who is representing the student. “The district’s insistence on separating my client from other students is blatant discrimination. Rather than approaching this issue with sensitivity and dignity, the district has attempted to justify its conduct by challenging my client’s identity as a girl.”
Once we grant the premise that no form of sexual expression or identity is any better or worse than any other we have to accept the conclusion that your daughters and sisters should feel no awkwardness showering with someone who looks for all the world as if he was your son or brother.
In any case, I'd like to propose a solution that should satisfy everyone but won't. Have the student in question change and shower behind a curtain in the boys' locker room. That seems like a fair compromise, but it would doubtless be seen as an infringement on the transgendered student's "rights." Yet when rights must be balanced it seems to me that the rights of hundreds of female students to their privacy should outweigh the rights of one transgender student to his/hers.
But this is all common sense, and the left long ago passed the point where common sense has anything much to do with how they handle matters when they're in charge, so I'm not optimistic that the Obama administration will show concern for the interests and rights of those hundreds of other female students.