Much has been written recently about who is entitled to use sex-specific bathrooms, changing rooms, showers, etc. The Obama administration and others contend that access to these private spaces should be determined by sexual identity or “chosen sex,” rather than by sex at birth or “biological sex.” In his May 24 Herald-Zeitung column, Jack McKinney trivialized the transgender access issue, implying it was nothing more than an irrational fear of transgendered persons. He couldn’t be more wrong.
No one should demonize those confused about their sexual identity. However, we should be concerned about sexual predators’ use of false sexual identities to gain access to victims (www.lc.org/transgender). We should be troubled by the potential harm to sex crime victims when confronted by persons of the opposite biological sex in a same-sex location like a bathroom (see thefederalist.com/2015/11/23/a-rape-survivor-speaks-out-about-transgender-bathrooms/). And we must heed the words of the American College of Pediatricians, which calls gender reclassification of children “child abuse” (see http://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-ideology-harms-children).
There are also broader societal concerns. For example, leftists, secular humanists, and moral relativists (LSHMR) are actively engaged in redefining “sex.” They want sex to be ephemeral and subjective, not persistent and objective. They’d have us disregard natural law and ignore the biological truth that from the moment of conception, our sex is permanently determined by the presence or absence of a “Y” sex chromosome in our DNA. Hormone treatments and reconstructive surgeries can’t change that reality.
LSHMRs claim a person’s sex is dynamic, a state of mind, not a fixed and fact-based attribute. It’s another example of their “science” hypocrisy. They assert the unproven “science” of climate change while denying the proven science of genetic sex assignment. They claim homosexuality is not a “choice” — that people are “born that way.” In the same breath, however, they insist that sex can be a choice, that people aren’t born male or female. They claim that one’s sex is a “gender toggle switch” — male one day and female the next.
Religious people accept genetic sex assignment as consistent with God’s word in Genesis 5:2 and Matthew 19:4, where it is written that God “created them male and female.” Religious or not, rational people see the whole transgender movement as another futile attempt by misguided humans to replace “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God” with their own preferred reality.
That brings us to the latest LSHMR foray into the twilight zone, the recent Title IX guidance letter from the U.S. Depts. of Education (ED) and Justice (www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201605-title-ix-transgender.pdf).
Title IX is remarkably straightforward: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” When enacted In 1972, the term “sex” in Title IX referred to one’s “biological” sex. Despite what ED may claim, it still does.
The latest ED guidance falsely equates biological sex with gender identity, to wit: “The Departments [of Education and Justice] treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations.”
In forcing an LSHMR view of “sex” on American schools, ED is usurping Congressional authority by unilaterally changing the law. At a minimum ED is violating the Administrative Procedures Act, which requires agencies to solicit public comment prior to enacting regulatory changes. No wonder 11 states are challenging ED in court.
When paired with ED’s prior Title IX guidance on sexual harassment, the latest directive puts academic institutions in a legal Catch-22.
Earlier ED guidance requires schools to protect students from sexual harassment, with “harassment” defined solely by the victim’s subjective feelings. In other words, a student has been sexually harassed if the student felt harassed - end of story.
The latest guidance requires schools to accommodate students according to chosen sex rather than biological sex, regardless of any impact on others. Failure to do so constitutes institutional harassment.
Here’s the Catch-22. Per ED’s guidance, a female student can claim sexual harassment if her college requires her to share a bathroom with a biological male who identifies as female. Similarly, a biological male student who identifies as female can assert harassment if the college prohibits such sharing. Under ED’s own guidelines, both harassment claims are legitimate. The institution is guilty of harassment either way. But don’t cry for Academe — it’s just reaping the fruits of its long-entrenched LSHMR ideology.
These are the kinds of problems that arise when a society places disordered human desires ahead of objective, immutable truth. Contrary to McKinney’s flippant view, there’s plenty of reason for concern.
Guest columnist Don Volz is a New Braunfels resident.