Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman called passage of SB 76 which maintains single-gender restrooms in Kentucky public schools "prioritizing discrimination.”  He’s right. Requiring girls to use the girls room and boys to use the boys room is inherently discriminatory. What is now controversial is to maintain that distinction.

A clever move by sexual freedom provocateurs like Hartman has been to conflate an intrinsic physical human category (race) with human behavioral actions (sex). Make any kind of judgment on human sexual behavior and you are as bigoted as Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, standing not in front of a public high school entrance, but in front of public school restrooms and locker rooms.   

Don’t be surprised when dads discriminate against biological boys who want to use their daughters restrooms and changing rooms. Such discrimination is necessary and healthy and not even close to the vicious racism many experienced under Jim Crow.

However uncomfortable this debate may be, it offers a glimpse into our culture’s collective soul and reveals an underlying danger slicker than black ice on  Kentucky’s roads.  Self-determination of biological gender and forcing society to conform, unravels an objective fact of humanity and creates a social conflict that confuses our understanding of rights and freedom. 

Until December 2012, the American Psychological Association considered transgenderism a psychological abnormality, something to be treated. The longstanding designation changed because of political pressure, not new science.  According to Dr. Edgardo Menvielle, of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C., about 80 percent of the children he’s treated grow out of their gender dysphoria. So why the continued push to normalize gender fluidity? 

Our culture’s flirtation with narcissism and penchant for social media which makes anyone with a smart phone and Hotspot the center of attention and arbiter of reality likely has something to do with it.  Facebook has gone far beyond transgender status and now has over 50 gender choices for users to identify as. Who knew? 

Recently reported in the Twitterverse is Wesleyan University’s house dedicated to a plethora of gender identities including asexual, flexual, polyamorous, bondage/domination, sadism/masochism and others that cannot be mentioned in polite company.  According to the website description, Open House is a safe place “for people of sexually or gender dissident communities…” whose goal is to generate “an interest in a celebration of queer life.”

Celebration and self-actualization of one’s sex life is emerging as the most important freedom in American life. The consequence is that when so many sexual choices/behaviors/identities become mainstream, sex is rendered amoral and only those who see sex and sexual relationships in moral terms will be considered outside the mainstream if not deserving public scorn. 

Licensed counselors in California and New Jersey are prohibited by state law from counseling minors struggling with homosexuality and transgender tendencies. Judges in California are forbidden to participate in the Boy Scouts of America because of their policy on openly homosexual Scout Masters. And bakers, florists, and photographers are facing crippling fines for drawing a line in the sand over a moral category regarding the kind of sexual relationships that should be celebrated.

Just days ago, Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman was harshly treated and penalized for refusing to provide a flower arrangement for a same-sex wedding. Stutzman stands to lose her business and home for objecting to the state-sanctioned sexual ethic contrary to her faith.

Hartman called the passage of SB 76 "ludicrous, willful, and mean-spirited” But isn’t it ludicrous to treat a biological girl like a boy and force all of society to conform to that fiction? Isn’t it mean-spirited to treat people of good will like Barronelle Stutzman as racists and threaten to strip them of their home and property? 

One can oppose the idea of transgender rights, or gay marriage for that matter, without being mean-spirited and demeaning to another individual.  As State Senator Danny Carroll (R-Paducah) said to a transgendered teen when he voted for SB 76 the first time,  “I don’t hate you.” Neither should any of us. 

There must still be room in the public arena for spirited debate and disagreement on important social issues without being labeled racist or penalized for simply disagreeing. The question is whether those fighting to change society’s understanding of gender and sexuality will afford the same right to others.

This appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on March 2, 2015.