1) My view on the recognition of transgender people is not entirely clear, I must admit. There are a large number of questions I do not have the answer to, nor does anyone else it seems to me. For one, is there any legitimacy to the notion that a person’s gender is their choice? If a person is born a male but identifies as a female, yet makes no effort to change their sex — i.e., surgery, hormone treatments, etc., — is there any legitimacy to their claim that they are a female. If there is legitimacy to their claim, does that mean they are eligible for Title IX advantages such as academic scholarships, grants, and other Title IX equality measures? What about athletic scholarships? Is it fair to female athletes that a male athlete who identifies as a woman be eligible for a woman’s scholarship.
And, what are the broad spectrum implications of recognizing males who identify as women females. Does that mean a white man who identifies as a Black or Latin should be recognized as a minority? If they should, does that make the white man eligible for affirmative action benefits? If a white man cannot identify with the race of their choice, why not? How is a Chinese woman identifying as a Black woman different than a man identifying as a woman?
With respect to transgender restrooms, I have even more questions. Specifically safety and privacy. I am assuming that recognizing gender differences does not make me a bigot, though I am not certain. But, assuming it does not, I am going to make the broad generalization that most men, though they me be surprised, would probably not feel afraid if a woman entered the same restroom. However, I am not certain the same can be said about how a woman may feel if a man enters the restroom with them. Does a heterosexual or homosexual or transgender woman not have the right to privacy in a public restroom?
2) Dear Idaho State Legislature,
I am writing with respect to policy options you have in regard to transgender restrooms. Transgender restrooms specifically — and gender identity as a whole — have become Title IX issues. That means the intergovernmental problem in this case is considerable. Because gender identity and transgender restrooms are a Title IX issue, that means the federal government has considerable say in determining whether or not the policy decisions you make are legally binding. That leaves you with three options if you choose to go against the federal government’s position that all public education institutions should, “Allow students to participate in sex-segregated activities and access sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity,” (USDOJ).
First, you can ignore any current legal decisions and wait for future directive or legal decisions. That would require the Idaho State Legislature to go directly against the federal government’s current language and interpretation of Title IX. By doing so, that would me both the Idaho State Legislature and — potentially — public schools would be exposed to the potentialities of monetary or punitive action from the federal government.
The second option would require putting the state of Idaho, its educational institutions, and the Idaho State Legislature at even more risk. That option is passing a law stating that bathroom use is determined by a person’s biological sex. Definitively, that would be Idaho’s state legislation flying directly in the face of Title IX. While the first option may allow the Idaho State Legislator more time to consider its options, the second option would likely draw immediate national attention and require the federal government to act.
The third option is being proactive and trying to develop a solution for Idaho schools. Going off the assumption that the legal decisions will continue to fall in favor of an interpretation of Title IX that recognizes transgender rights, the Idaho State Legislature could implement a plan to integrate transgender individuals into the public restrooms of their choice.
In deciding what choice best serves the people and students of Idaho, there are three issues to consider. The first is public safety. The Idaho State Legislature must determine if there is a public safety risk in allowing transgender individuals to use the restroom of their choice. Specifically, is there an increased risk of physical or sexual abuse against women and children? Are do transgender restrooms provide sexual predators a safe avenue to abuse as the Washington Times suggested in the article titled, “Sexual-abuse victims speak out in video against transgender bathroom laws?” (Richardson).
The second issue to consider is the morality of transgender restroom. Do the people of Idaho, as a whole, believe it is ethical to allow a man to enter a women’s restroom? Is it fair of a woman to feel her right to privacy is being infringed upon if a transgender individual enters the same restroom as her?
Lastly, what about the rights of transgender individuals, those who live life as the gender opposite of which they were born? Should a person who dresses, acts, talks, and lives as a woman have the right to use the woman’s restroom? Should a woman who identifies as a man be able to live the life of their choice? These are the issues facing you Legislators.
- Richardson, Bradford. (2016). Sexual-abuse victims speak out in video against transgender bathroom laws. The Washington Times, Retrieved from https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/9/abuse-victims-speak-transgender-bathroom-laws/.
- The United States Department of Justice. (2016). U.S. Departments of Justice and Education Release Joint Guidance to Help Schools Ensure the Civil Rights of Transgender Students. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-departments-justice-and-education-release-joint-guidance-help-schools-ensure-civil-rights.