Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

America's education establishment left the world of objective reality on Friday, when the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) politicized public school bathrooms and sided with biological revisionists by demanding that public school students be allowed to use lockers and restrooms regardless of their biological gender at birth. Instead of coming to grips with biology, sociology and confusion that often accompanies children developing into young adults, professional educators in Washington have declared war on the truth and left children to their own devices, all in the name of nondiscrimination.

The USDE letter, which was sent to every school in the nation, asserts that Federal Title IX law equates sex with self-determined gender identity. The problem is that when the law was passed in 1972, it was meant to give young girls equal opportunities in education and sports activities.  It was never intended to allow young boys access to girls' showers. Bureaucrats behind the highly controversial policy changes to Title IX insist that boys are not really boys and girls not really girls unless they really believe deep down inside that to be the case.

Major policy changes belong in the legislative arena, not "advisory" letters.  Governor Bevin called the move "an absurd federal overreach," and said schools "should not feel compelled to bow to such intimidation." State Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) and House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown) opposed the federal measure via press releases. However, State House Democratic leadership rejected legislation maintaining single-gender restrooms and locker rooms in the public schools the last two legislative sessions.

The policy change has far-reaching implications. School staff and contractors must participate in the ruse by addressing students by their preferred pronoun. Boys who identify as girls must be called "she" and girls who identify as boys must be called "he."  High school boys who wear dresses to prom cannot be prohibited from attending. Nor may schools “discipline students or exclude them from participating in activities for appearing or behaving in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity… ."  Noncompliant schools risk losing federal funding.

So how do we know the gender identity claim is real? Or a phase? The answer is we don't. There is no way to verify the legitimacy of a student's gender identity claim. The USDE doesn't even bother to determine that. Schools just need to take kids at their words. Yet, according to a column published in the Wall Street Journal by Paul McHugh, 70-80 percent of kids identifying as the opposite gender eventually lose those feelings. 

McHugh, a former Psychiatrist in Chief at Johns Hopkins University, maintained this is a psychological and not a civil rights issue. “’Sex change’ is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”

Transgenderism was considered a dysphoria by the American Psychiatric Association only three years ago. They have since dropped the diagnosis due to political pressure. To call self-determined gender identity a right does much damage to troubled kids—kids who we should care enough about to walk with them, help them, guide them, but be honest enough to tell them the truth of the biological reality that an xy chromosome determines maleness and an xx chromosome determines femaleness. And no matter how convinced one thinks they are another gender, it cannot change their genetic code or the accompanying sociological realities.

Perhaps this latest policy debate is indicative of a larger crisis of identity.  The American creed teaches the idea of a Creator endowing us with rights. This same Creator who gives us rights, determines our gender and if we are to claim the former we must accept the latter. But that can no longer be taught in the public schools any more. Which leads to this question: if educators cannot tell children they are not objectively male or female, on what basis should they be trusted to teach them anything?

This column appeared in the May 19 edition of the Georgetown News-Graphic.