I wouldn’t normally write about things like this except that it literally happened up the street from me. And while I understand that transgenderism is a real thing, it seems like the Department of Education is really pushing the envelope with the latest decision regarding gender-based accommodation in schools.
In Palatine a suburb on the northwest side of Chicago, a male student transitioning to female was given a private dressing area to use after sporting events, as she served on a womens’ sports team. According to the ACLU, which is handling the case, the arrangement isolated the student from her teammates and made the student uncomfortable, and now the Department of Education has agreed, threatning the school with revocation of its Title IX funding if the student is not allowed to use womens’ facilities along side her teammates.
The U.S. Department of Education found a Chicago-area school district discriminated against a transgender student by failing to provide her full access to girls’ locker rooms.
“All students deserve the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities — this is a basic civil right,” Assistant U.S. Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon said in a statement Monday.
The student who hasn’t been publicly identified participates on a girls’ sports team, but has been required to change and shower separately from her teammates and classmates.
The DOE launched the investigation following a 2013 complaint by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which is representing her….
Under the DOE’s finding, the district has been given 30 days to reach a solution or face enforcement, which could mean the loss of Title IX funding. The federal law bans sexual discrimination.
There’s a significant aspect of these stories that always strikes me as strange: they focus solely on the comfort level of the student in question, rather than on the comfort level of the students forced to comply with the accommodation. The changing facilities don’t just include locker rooms but showers, and it’s not entirely clear how far along in the transition process the student actually is – meaning, of course, that the DOE could be giving a boy who identifies as a girl but has no ability to demonstrate active transitioning, access to a girls locker room, traditionally recognized as a private space and gender-segregated for a reason. Not only does just “feeling” a certain way now come with a host of special treatment options, but it implies that you can trample on the treatment of others.
There’s also the question, for other schools, about why a transitioning – or, in this case, transgender but not transitioning – student would be allowed to play on the opposite gender’s sports team. There are very few areas where gender matters, and gender segregation is done for a reason, but sports is one of them. Women don’t compete on the same playing field as men because of body type differences that would make them potentially vulnerable to injury, and give men an unfair advantage in certain situations. Putting a boy on a girl’s team, even if that boy identifies as the opposite gender confers an oddly unfair advantage.
This is very much a feel-good decision – the kind that has its genesis in the kind of faux-compassion liberals take as the heart of their ideological thesis – and it certainly will make people feel better that someone who would normally be left out gets included. But there’s also an absence of compassion for those who will be affected by these policies. If they don’t mind, then, sure, but I can’t see, were I a parent, being comfortable with how the DOE has handled this case.