Transgender students have a civil right to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, regardless of their biological sex, the Obama administration declared today in a “guidance” to schools.
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice sued North Carolina over its “bathroom law” requiring people to use the public bathroom that “corresponds to the sex on their birth certificates,” notes NPR.
Under federal law, Title IX, schools that receive federal funding are not allowed to discriminate against students on the basis of sex. The guidance going out to school districts on Friday makes it clear that as far as the departments of Justice and Education are concerned, that word “sex” includes gender identity.
The administration is threatening to deny federal funds to school districts that don’t comply.
This is bureaucratic overreach, writes Hans Bader, who worked in the Education Department’s Civil Rights Office years ago. “Title IX does not mandate national central planning for bathrooms.”
Telling transgender students to use a private restroom, instead of the one that matches their gender identity, is not OK, according to the guidelines. If there’s a “girls’ room” — or a “girls’ locker room — then students who see themselves as girls have a civil right to use it, the Education Department says.
Letting transgender students use girls’ restrooms, which have private stalls, is not the real problem, I think. (I’ll let males comment on letting a transgender male use the boys’ room.)
It’s locker rooms. I just can’t see requiring girls to undress and shower with a biological male. I took four years of P.E. in high school (by Illinois state law): I remember how embarrassed girls were to get naked in front of other girls. Don’t non-transgender students have privacy rights? Justice Ruth Ginsberg thinks they do.
While I don’t fear transgender students will molest classmates, I do worry that creepy “cis” guys will see an opportunity to invade locker rooms.
In college dorms, transgender students would have a right “to access housing consistent with their gender identity.” So, your daughter could share a room with a biological male who identifies as female, while your son could be undressing in front of a biological female who identifies as male.
I think many middle-of-the-road voters will share those qualms, question whether shared locker rooms and dorm rooms are a civil right and resent being called bigots.
Donald Trump said states should decide and pointed out, accurately, that transgender people are a “tiny, tiny” percentage of the population.
I haven’t seen a comment from Hillary Clinton yet today on the new guidelines. If I were her, I’d be nervous.