The end of the bathroom wars?
Sexuality | The Supreme Court stays silent as parents’ and students’ rights erode
by Mary Jackson
Posted 12/11/20, 12:12 pm
The nation’s highest court signaled this week that appeasing LGBT activism takes precedence over protecting children from the intrusion of transgender ideology on their bodies and beliefs.
With little fanfare, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sidelined a case brought by parents and students in northwestern Oregon against the local school district and its “School Safety Plan” that permitted students who identify as the opposite sex to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.
The parents sued after Dallas High School in Dallas, Ore., not only allowed a female student who identified as a boy to use the boys’ locker room but also told classmates they had no right to dissent. The lawsuit claims the principal threated to discipline students who circulated a petition of objection and told their parents it viewed disagreement with the school policy as “intolerance and bigotry.”
A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit and the parents’ argument that the policy infringed on a plethora of rights such as the students’ rights to privacy, equal protection under the law, and free expression of religion and the parents’ rights to raise their children and direct their education. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal, and the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case.
“A confirmation of our children’s bodily privacy right at the highest court in the nation would have preempted what we expect to see—which is that our young girls will have no safe spaces where they can expect physical privacy,” said Victoria Cobb, a mother of four and president of The Family Foundation of Virginia.
This past summer, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that a federal civil rights law barring employers from discriminating “on the basis of sex” covered gender identity and sexual orientation. Despite the justices’ insistence that the decision applied specifically to employment situations, lower courts have already referenced the decision as a reason to advance other transgender demands, including letting people use sex-specific public facilities according to the gender with which they identify.
The Supreme Court’s decision was “shortsighted … and more far-reaching than I think they realize,” said Brenda Lebsack, a physical education teacher in the Santa Ana, Calif., Unified School District and a former board member for the Orange Unified School District.
Citing Bostock, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in August ruled the restroom usage rules of a Virginia school board discriminated against a former transgender high school student who goes by the name of Gavin Grimm. “After the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, we have little difficulty holding that a bathroom policy precluding Grimm from using the boys restrooms discriminated against him ‘on the basis of sex,’” the court said.
A separate federal appeals court in August ruled a Florida school board violated students’ rights by requiring them to use restrooms that match their biological sex.
LGBT advocates applauded the Supreme Court’s decision in the Oregon case, especially considering its conservative majority and the recent confirmation of pro-life, Catholic Justice Amy Coney Barrett. It sends “an important and powerful message to trans and nonbinary youth that they deserve to share space with … their non-transgender peers,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project.
Lebsack noted that transgenderism now encompasses terms such as “nonbinary” and “gender fluid,” according to new standards put out by the National Education Association.
“Students who identify as gender fluid can fluctuate between male/female facilities—such as a cabin, locker room, or bathroom—anytime they choose,” Lebsack said. “For school employees to refuse access means an accusation of discrimination or harassment. … This will cause school personnel, parents, and other students to be at the mercy of however a student chooses to ‘self-certify’ or ‘identify’ on that given day.”
Mary is a book reviewer and reporter for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and Greenville University graduate who previously worked for the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal. Mary resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay area. Follow her on Twitter @mbjackson77.