I was just about to post a revised comment to my post, 26 Tennessee senators call on Haslam to join North Carolina lawsuit over transgender bathrooms. In that post I said, "I do share the outrage, however, over the unconstitutional blackmail of
state governments and think Tennessee should join North Carolina,
Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas in their lawsuit."
I was going to revise my comment. I was going to say that while I share the outrage over President Obama's blackmail of state government that I did not see any reason at this time to join the lawsuits over the issue. I was going to say that after talking to some informed people, reading more on the issue, and giving the issue more thought that I did not think we should join the law suite. I was going to say, all that had happened so far is that President Obama had issued a statement saying how his administration would interpret Title IX and that as of now, Tennessee had not been harmed. The law has not changed, no money has been withheld and we have no basis for a law suit. For Tennessee to be harmed by the new policy, I was going to say, several things would have to happen. There would have to be a transgendered student who wanted to use the bathroom or shower facilities of his gender identity rather than his birth sex, he (she) could not be placated by what ever solution the school offered, the school would have to insist that the student use the shower or bathroom facilities corresponding to his birth sex, a legal complaint action would have to be taken on behalf of the student, and the student prevail and the Federal government withhold Title IX money. I was going to say, those things may never happen. We need to take a deep breath and wait. This may never become an issue, I was going to say in my revised comments.
Well, before I posted my revised comments, I read today that the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has filed a complaint over a Sumner County schools system policy that prohibits transgender students from using restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. It seems like Tennessee may be harmed by the new Obama administration policy sooner than I thought. I still think that before we file suit we should wait and see if we actually are harmed. I still think these things could be worked out on a case by case basis at the local school level, if pressure groups and politicians would stay out of it. This is such a rare problem that there does not need to be a one-size-fits-all policy.
Also, I think we need to have a little compassion for the young people who are experiencing gender confusion. According to some reports, 50 percent of trans or gender non-conforming young people have attempted suicide. (link). I don't know if the suicide attempts are due to the failure of society to accept them or is due to the disorder that causes them to be gender confused. It really doesn't matter but they need help. To help them, the counselors and principals and teachers at the school need to have flexibility to address the issues that the situation causes. To require a "girl" with a penis to use the boy's restroom may result in bullying or violence against the student; to allow "her" to use the girls restroom may also cause problems. It seems like the school needs flexibility. If it is restrooms we are talking about that may be a different problem and call for a different solution than if we are talking about showering with other people. The age of the student, the facilities available at the school, the desires of the parents, and other factor may weight into a tailor made solution. We should not be using these sick, fragile, suicide-prone, young people as political footballs to score points.
A spokesman for Sumner County schools says, "While transgender students must use the general restroom and locker room facilities corresponding to their birth gender, our schools provide alternative, private, unisex restrooms and changing facilities."
While that seems to me like a reasonable policy, it may not be reasonable to the ACLU and the Obama administration. I still think that before we take action, however, we ought to see if money is actuality withheld from Tennessee. I do think it would be appropriate, however, for Tennessee to file a "friend of the court" brief in the pending North Carolina lawsuit. President Obama only has six more months in office. Before Tennessee can actually be harmed by his policy he may be out of office and there may be a return to sanity. Let us wait and see what happens.