WARNING: In this article about a gender-dysphoric boy’s pursuit of unfettered access to the girls’ locker room in an Illinois high school, I will be using the male pronoun because pronouns correspond to and denote objective biological sex. Politically-correct readers may want to stop reading now.
Eighteen months ago a high school student in Palatine-Schaumburg District 211 who wishes he were a girl and his parents filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to force the district to treat him in all contexts as if he were objectively female. The OCR—an intrusive, dictatorial, de facto bastion of “LGBTQ” activism—has ordered the district to allow this boy full, unrestricted access to the girls’ locker rooms “for changing during physical education classes and after-school activities.” The district is rightly refusing to comply, which will likely result in expensive litigation and the potential loss of millions of dollars of federal funds.
Superintendent Daniel Cates, other school officials, and school board members offered a compromise solution that would have given “the transgender student use of the locker room but asked that the student change and shower in private.” The OCR rejected this overly generous compromise as “inadequate and discriminatory.”
In a district newsletter released on Monday, Cates explained that the “goal of the District in this matter is to protect the privacy rights of all students when changing clothes or showering before or after physical education and after-school activities.” This boy—and he is and always will be male—is demanding to be allowed unrestricted freedom to change clothes and shower with girls.
Already the school has made pernicious concessions to “progressive” ideologues and their chuckleheaded notions about the meaning of physical embodiment. On school forms, gender-dysphoric students in District 211 may identify themselves as the sex they wish they were. They may play on opposite sex sports teams. And even more outrageous, they may use opposite-sex restrooms since “there are private stalls available.”
None of this, however, is enough for the gender-rejecting boy, his parents, the OCR, or “LGBTQ” activists. They need every cultural signifier that affirms that objective biological sex is immutable and profoundly meaningful to be eradicated, and they will use the implacable force of the federal government to achieve that end.
John Knight of the ACLU Illinois’ LGBT program claims that in refusing to comply, District 211 is “knowingly breaking the law.” Well, the purported lawfulness of the order is in question.
In 2014, the OCR unilaterally reinterpreted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972—federal civil rights legislation that addressed sexual discrimination, not gender dysphoria—and then commanded that all school districts comply with their fanciful reinterpretation. Here is an excerpt from their imperious proclamation to schools:
The Department’s Title IX regulations permit schools to provide sex-segregated restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, housing, athletic teams, and single-sex classes under certain circumstances. When a school elects to separate or treat students differently on the basis of sex in those situations, a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.
The OCR imposed their radical reinterpretation on schools without the actual law ever changing. A court case (G. G. v. Gloucester County Public Schools) is currently pending in which the Department of Justice is attempting to change the law in accordance with the OCR’s desires, but as of now, there exists no federal or state law that requires Illinois schools to allow students of one sex to use restrooms or locker rooms designated for opposite-sex students.
Knight also makes the comical claim that by prohibiting a high school boy from showering with his female classmates, the school is telling him that he “can’t be with her [sic] friends at school, but has to be regulated [sic] to a separate place to dress. That’s just a horrible thing to do.” I kid you not. An attorney actually said that.
Those who support “transgender” bathroom and locker room policies should answer these questions:
- If gender-confused teens should not have to use restrooms and locker rooms with those whose “gender identity” they don’t share, then why should other teens have to use restrooms and locker rooms with those whose objective biological sex they don’t share?
- If there are two distinct phenomenon, biological sex (constituted by objective DNA/anatomy) and “gender identity” (constituted by subjective feelings), why should locker rooms and restrooms be separated according to “gender identity” rather than objective biological sex? What justification is there for subordinating objective biological sex to “gender identity”?
- Supporters of “transgender” school policies argue that they’re needed in order to be “inclusive” of gender-confused students. To be intellectually consistent then, wouldn’t supporters of the policy have to agree that those who are not comfortable sharing a bathroom or locker room with someone of the opposite sex because of their beliefs about sexual differentiation, modesty, and privacy would be “excluded” if the school refuses to honor their beliefs, feelings, values, and identity—which, by the way, has a basis in objective reality?
Symbolic and teaching effect of school policy
Many community members who do not like either the policy sought by this student or the existing policy regarding sports participation and restroom use may dismiss it as unimportant since there are so few gender-dysphoric students. But if it’s unimportant, why does the Left care so much about it? They care about it in part because of its symbolic effect. The Left knows that passing this policy necessarily means the school has formally embraced the Left’s unproven, non-factual beliefs about sex and gender.
Here are some of the ideas that “transgender” policies teach all students:
- These policies teach that the subjective feelings of teens who wish they had been born the opposite sex trump objective biological and anatomical reality.
- Such policies falsely teach that what gender-confused teens feel is their true sex is, indeed, their true sex. Such policies teach students that “gender” has no inherent connection to DNA and its manifestation in biology and anatomy but, rather, that it is determined by subjective feelings. They also teach that everyone must accept their unproven belief that “gender identity” is more objectively real and more important than objective biological and anatomical reality.
- Supporters of these kinds of policies argue that the majority should not be allowed to deny the rights of the minority, but such a statement presumes that gender-confused students have a right to use the restrooms and locker rooms designated for those of the opposite sex. And it ignores the rights of those who don’t want to be compelled to use facilities intended for private acts in the presence of those of the opposite sex. Boys have no right to use girls’ restrooms, and girls have no right to use boys’ restrooms.
- Policies that allow students to use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms ignore the proper, healthy, and normal feelings of students who do not feel comfortable sharing locker rooms and restrooms with those of the opposite sex. Boys, who should leave a bathroom if a girl enters, and girls who should leave a bathroom if a boy enters would be taught either implicitly or explicitly that those natural and good feelings are wrong. They would be taught that their natural and good feelings of modesty are exclusionary, lacking in compassion, ignorant, and biased.
- Conversely, such policies falsely teach students that in order to be kind, compassionate, and inclusive of those who experience gender dysphoria, they have to affirm those peers’ feelings and ideas. In reality, neither love, nor compassion, nor wisdom, nor inclusivity requires affirmation and accommodation of every feeling, belief, or behavioral choice of every student in a school. And they certainly don’t require students to affirm confusion as soundness or lies as truth. Real love as well as commitments to morality, objective reality, and public order put limits on what individuals and schools should affirm and accommodate. And real love depends first on knowing what is true.
- Such policies teach students that cross-dressing (as well as hormone-doping and elective amputations of healthy body parts) is morally acceptable and good.
The proponents of tolerance and diversity demand nothing less than total ideological surrender and compulsory compliance with policies that reflect their doctrinaire assumptions. Taxpayers in District 211 should protest with boldness and tenacity not just this decision but the policy changes that already exist in District 211. Sympathy for this boy’s confusion should not lead community members to affirm destructive policies that embody lies. If Americans don’t oppose such stupid, harmful, tyrannical policies, such policies will come to all government schools, undermining truth, parental rights, children’s rights, and teachers’ rights.
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