Former president Barack Obama issued a directive to government schools to allow boys pretending to be girls (and vice versa) to use their private facilities. President Donald Trump revoked this directive in 2017. But the issue continues to plague government schools.
In the Gloucester County School District in Virginia, for example, officials barred a girl pretending to be a boy from using male restrooms and locker rooms. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in the girl’s favor. Although the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay in the case, the justices ultimately decided not to hear arguments.
The school district hasn’t given up. The case ended up before a district court, which ruled against the school district. U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen contended that not allowing students to use opposite sex bathrooms or setting aside single-stall restrooms for their use is unconstitutional. The Daily Signal reported that the school board said it treated students equally because the policy is based on biological attributes.
Allen rejected that argument. The judge distinguished between sex and gender, saying the former refers to “biological attributes such as genes, chromosomes, [and] genitalia” while the latter is the “deeply held sense of being a man or a woman.” Expecting sex and gender to conform in particular ways is unlawful stereotyping, Allen ruled.
“There is no question that the board’s policy discriminates against transgender students on the basis of their gender non-comformity,” Allen wrote. “Under the policy, all students except for transgender students may use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity. Transgender students are singled out, subjected to discriminatory treatment, and excluded from spaces where similarly situated students are permitted to go.”
Once again, there is no concern for how allowing students to use opposite-sex private areas affects other students. In addition to privacy, students’ sense of modesty and safety are also factors any court should consider.