California’s new “transgender” law mandates school districts allow students to participate in school activities and use facilities based on their “gender identity” – and that opens a Pandora’s Box of problems.
The word “discriminate” carries with it a regrettable connotation. Mere mention evokes thoughts of Jews in concentration camps, elections without female participation, and water fountains marked “whites only.” But to discriminate, according to Merriam-Webster, is to simply note a distinction.
Detecting differences is not always bad; in fact, quite often, it only makes sense to discriminate.
For example, we should discriminate between foods that cause allergic reactions and those that do not; between the right side of the road and the left when driving; and whether a dog is wagging his tail or growling before we try to pet him. Differences are important, indeed critical, for us to consider in making informed individual decisions as well as social policy.
Ignoring the significance of this discernment, the State of California recently passed a transgender student law that blurs recognizable distinctions between males and females in their public school system.
Signed last week by Governor Jerry Brown, this new law requires that all students in public schools be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with the “gender identity” of choice, irrespective of how the gender is listed on a birth certificate or other records on the pupil.
In other words, beginning January 1, self-determined “gender identity” trumps anatomy for assessing the sex of a student. Any student from kindergarten through 12th grade can decide at any time to start using the bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex and play on their sports teams.
The law arbitrarily and unilaterally sets school policy that leaves students vulnerable to abuse. Creating and then opening a Pandora’s Box of complex problems, state officials leave it up to public school teachers and administrators to figure out how to best apply this directive.
What happens when a teenage boy who has exhibited predatory behavior suddenly decides he is confused about his sex and wants to use the girls’ bathroom ... or when a young girl becomes curious about the stories she’s heard and wants to venture into the boys’ locker room? How does the teacher explain Tom’s use of the girl’s bathroom to his (or as he now prefers, “her”) kindergarten classmates? What will happen when a boy cut from the boys’ soccer team decides he feels more like a girl and tries out for the girls’ team?
As Randy Thomasson of the group SaveCalifornia.com aptly put it: “This is insanity.”
The inevitable confusion, chaos and harm that accompany this insane law can hardly be justified. Bullying and teasing issues can be – and are currently being addressed – by other measures in the school system. The singular purpose behind the law is to “normalize” the behavior.
Of course, this is what the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transsexual (LGBT) movement is all about. It seeks to make abnormal behavior appear normal, so no one will dare question it. And anything or anyone that stands in the way of this goal will become collateral damage.
In this instance, the 6.2 million students looking for an education in the California school system will suffer the consequences.
By eliminating discrimination – at all costs – the State of California, through this transgender student law, effectively eliminates common sense as well.
Nate Kellum is chief counsel for the Center for Religious Expression (Memphis, TN), a legal entity dedicated entirely to the protection of religious speech. He also serves as general counsel for a pregnancy-help medical clinic in Memphis.
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