Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Department of Education Declares War on Biology
DATE: May 13, 2016
CONTACT: Richard Nelson
PHONE: (270) 271-2713

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to every public school in the nation notifying them they must open their restrooms and locker rooms to children whose self-determined gender identity doesn't match their biological gender.  In other words, young boys who identify as girls must be allowed to use girls' restrooms and locker rooms. "This is simply wrong on a number of levels," according to Commonwealth Policy Center Executive Director Richard Nelson.

"The Obama administration's Department of Education has politicized public school bathrooms and sided with biological revisionists today by demanding that students be allowed to use lockers and restrooms regardless of the biological gender they were born with,"  Nelson said. "This is a power grab that skirts the democratic process. It defies common sense, and it ultimately compromises the privacy and safety of young girls."  The letter explains that if schools fail to comply with the measure, they risk losing federal funding.

The Obama administration's interpretation of Title IX—a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities—equates sex with self-determined gender identity. "When the law was passed in 1972, it was meant to give young girls equal opportunities in education and sports activities," Nelson said. "It was never intended to allow men access to women's showers." Nelson contends that major policy changes to Title IX should have gone through the legislative process and not accomplished by a letter from an administrative agency.

The letter goes so far as to insist that school staff and contractors must address students by their preferred pronoun. Boys who identify as girls must be called "she" and girls who identify as boys must be called "he".  Nor can high school boys be disciplined from wearing dresses to prom. The letter says schools “may not discipline students or exclude them from participating in activities for appearing or behaving in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity or that does not conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity (e.g., in yearbook photographs, at school dances, or at graduation ceremonies).”

The Department of Education disregards public sentiment and arguments to preserve the privacy rights of girls or those who feel uncomfortable with the policy.  The letter says, "as is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.”

"The biological reality is that an xy chromosome determines maleness and an xx chromosome determines femaleness. No matter how convinced one thinks they are another gender, it cannot change their genetic code or the accompanying sociological realities."  Nelson said. "It is a shame this has to be spelled out." He hopes that Kentucky public school administrators refuse to implement any directive that compromises the privacy and safety of any segment of the student population.