This is the next battlefield, which already has arrived.

As far as the feds are concerned, it is unlawful discrimination if a school provides anything less than full, unrestricted access for male transgender students to areas previously deemed private girls-only areas, such as showers and locker rooms.

The NY Times reports, Illinois District Violated Transgender Student’s Rights, U.S. Says:

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.

These threats are being made by the same Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Education whose threats of action against universities led to the current kangaroo court situation on campuses, where accused students (almost always male) have few procedural protections.

In the letter, the feds made clear that the limitation of access to the showers and locker room was the only issue. In all other respects, the feds acknowledged, the District “has honored” the student’s “request to be treated as female,” including access to girls’ restrooms.

The school even allowed the student — who has not undergone a sex change operation — to change in the girls locker room, but behind a curtain, the Times reported:

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 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.

The school district, the Times further reports, says it is trying to be sensitive to the privacy concerns of girls:

Daniel Cates, the district superintendent, said in a statement Monday that he disagreed with the decision, which he described as “a serious overreach with precedent-setting implications.” In an interview, Dr. Cates said district officials had “worked long and hard” to develop a plan that the district believed would balance the rights of everyone involved. That plan entails having the student change beyond privacy curtains in the girls’ locker room.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the student doesn’t necessarily object to using the private area, but doesn’t want to be forced to make the choice:

But talks stalled after school officials said the student would be required to use the private area, as opposed to offering her a choice to use it. Although the student said she intends to use the private area or a locker room bathroom stall to change, the stipulation constitutes “blatant discrimination,” said John Knight, director of the LGBT and AIDS Project at ACLU of Illinois, which is representing the student.

“It’s not voluntary, it’s mandatory for her,” Knight said. “It’s one thing to say to all the girls, ‘You can choose if you want some extra privacy,’ but it’s another thing to say, ‘You, and you alone, must use them.’ That sends a pretty strong signal to her that she’s not accepted and the district does not see her as girl.”

In its letter, the feds rejected such concerns:

The District does not dispute that it has denied access to Student A to use the girls’ locker rooms.The District proffered as its legitimate, nondiscriminatory justification that it “based its decision on the needs of all students,” balancing Student A’s rights and interests with the privacy concerns of other female students. The District raised two specific constitutional privacy concerns. First, the District contends that ”permitting Student A to be present in the locker room would expose female students to being observed in a state of undress by a biologically male individual.” The District’s second stated privacy concern is that it would be inappropriate for young female students to view a naked male in the locker room in a state of undress. The District stated that “[g]ranting Student A the option to change her clothes in the girls’ locker room would expose female students as young as fifteen years of age to a biologically male body.”11 OCR finds the concerns unavailing in this case.

The burden of protecting privacy, the feds found, is on the non-transgender girls who don’t want to observe or be observed by the opposite sex:

Those female students wishing to protect their own private bodies from exposure to being observed in a state of undress by other girls in the locker rooms, including transgender girls, could change behind a privacy curtain.

The feds don’t even attempt to strike a balance. It’s all or nothing. And that all is that your daughters have to look at male genitalia in the locker room and shower, whether you or they like it or not.

[Featured Image – CNN]


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