Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Where Do My Rights End and Yours Begin

          The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the right of Americans to privacy when dressing, undressing, or using bathroom facilities, or at least be with people who are biologically the same sex. This is a right that may soon be gone because the battle over the rights of people who believe they are transgender. This battle seems to be centered in the schools.

            Nicole Russell shared some of her thoughts about this battle in an article posted by The Daily Signal. She wrote about two schools that are being sued because transgender students are not satisfied with their efforts to accommodate all students. She stated that there are some key factors that are driving both cases.

Though the lawsuits differ slightly in specifics, they share several common denominators that are key to understanding the transgender debate, particularly when it comes to students and schools.

First, these lawsuits are based on President Barack Obama’s 2016 “Dear Colleague” letter that mandated schools must include and accommodate transgender students and recognize gender identity, or else the school could face discrimination charges.

This was an order by executive fiat, not a law passed by Congress, and not a ruling from the Supreme Court.

            In 2017, the Trump administration rolled back those provisions, while the Education                             Department acknowledged that “each school has a responsibility to protect every student in                 America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

Second, both lawsuits share an important, particular curiosity: Both schools addressed the transgender student’s wishes to be included and to have “equal access” to facilities, yet in both cases, the students complained that equal access wasn’t equal enough. They claimed the accommodations were somehow still discriminatory, even though it appears the schools took extra efforts to ensure the transgender students were treated equally while also preserving the rights of other students.

            In other words, both school districts went out of their way to protect all students’ rights, but                 transgender students made that an impossible task. They pushed for entitlement rather than                 equality.

            These students keep shifting the goalposts with their self-focused demands. Their demands                 ultimately pose a greater risk to other students’ privacy rights, which raises questions about                 discrimination in the opposite direction.

            Russell points out that these lawsuits should not even be happening. They are not based on any law passed by Congress or decided by the Supreme Court. The school districts caved to the demands of a few students while denying privacy rights of the majority. They took these actions even though “gender identity does not have protected status in federal civil rights laws, like sex, religion, or ethnicity.” 

The problem with making decisions based on gender identity is that there is not a specific identity with which to work. Common sense says that there should be restrooms for two sexes – male and female. How can any public facility have enough restrooms for all the different genders, specifically because we do not know how many genders with which we are dealing? In a quick Google search, I found three different numbers – 33, 63, and 112. Who knows which number is correct, or if any of them are true? 

            I propose that school districts build three different restrooms instead of two – one for biological “girls,” one for biological “boys,” and one for “others.” One thing is for sure: the right of privacy for biological girls and biological boys should not be compromised because a few people feel that they are in the wrong body. No one has the right to force the majority to conform to the desires of the few.

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