Do the rights of boys who identify as girls trump the rights of girls who are born girls?
That question is at the heart of a lawsuit filed by dozens of Illinois parents after the Obama administration’s Department of Education strong-armed their school district into allowing a transgender student the right to use all girls’ locker rooms.
“The girls are mortified,” said Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco, a religious liberty law firm representing some 50 families. “They are in a constant state of fear that their bodies are going to be exposed to a male in these settings. It’s a constant state of stress and anxiety for them.”
At least one of the plaintiffs, a female student at the high school, was harassed and bullied because she is uncomfortable changing in the same locker room with a biological boy.
“While she was in the changing stall, other girls who were in the locker room began calling her names, including ‘transphobic’ and ‘homophobic’,” the lawsuit states.
The DOE has yet to respond to the lawsuit.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois told the Chicago Tribune the lawsuit is a “sad development by groups opposed to fair and humane treatment of all students, including those who are transgender.”
In 2015 the DOE warned the Township High School District 211 in Palatine that unless they gave a biologically male student unfettered access to the girls’ locker rooms – they would revoke $6 million in federal funding.
In other words, the Obama administration committed a de facto act of extortion.
“Every school district in America has gotten the message,” Tedesco told me. “The DOE is starting to enforce it through threats of revoking funding. We get calls every week from parents and school administrators asking what can we do? They are caving because they know the federal government is going to come after them.”
Alliance Defending Freedom alleges the Department of Education has been using Title IX to bully and intimidate school districts across the country by redefining what the term “sex” means.
Title IX is a federal statute created in 1972 and amended in 2015 that reads:
“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.”
Tedesco tells me that what the DOE is doing is “completely unlawful.”
“They are effectively redefining a clear and unambiguous term in a federal statute,” he said. “The term is ‘sex’. For the 40 years of that statute’s history – sex has always meant male and female. But they redefined the term to include gender identity.”
The lawsuit filed May 4th in federal court alleges the DOE’s actions have (among other things) violated the girls’ right of privacy.
“Every day these girls go to school, they experience embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, fear, apprehension, stress, degradation, and loss of dignity because they will have to use the locker room and restroom with a biological male,” the lawsuit states.
Alliance Defending Freedom says the district’s new policy has already had a “profoundly negative effect” among female students.
· One girl started wearing her gym clothes underneath her regular clothes all day, so she only has to peel off a layer instead of exposing her unclothed body in the presence of a biological male in the locker room;
· Some girls actively avoid locker rooms all day;
· Other girls wait as long as possible to use the restroom – so they won’t have to share it with a biological male.
The ACLU of Illinois was especially offended that Alliance Defending Freedom referred to the transgender student as “he” in the lawsuit.
“It’s pretty offensive that they don’t even fundamentally acknowledge that our client is a girl,” ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka told the Tribune. “If you don’t understand enough about what it means to be transgender to get that, I don’t know how you even begin to opine on this.”
In other words, in today’s America – your gender identity is based on “feelings” rather than your God-given plumbing and parts.
Fox Business anchor Trish Regan asked a profound question on her show this week regarding the transgender bathroom controversy that has gripped the nation.
“What about the civil rights of women who don’t want men in their bathrooms,” she asked. “Do their rights matter at all?”
I’m afraid the answer to that question is no – the rights of women do not matter.
And any woman or young girl who complains about sharing locker rooms or shower stalls or bathrooms with a biological male -- risks being labeled a transphobic bigot.
Sorry ladies – your civil rights just got double-flushed.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.