March 22, 2017
The media loves to talk about the trauma inflicted on gender-confused kids when they're using the bathroom or locker room of their biological sex. But what if the gym shoe is on the other foot? In Pennsylvania, one teenager was just as scarred by walking into his locker room and realizing a girl was half-naked inside it. Joel Doe, the suit calls him, is a high school junior who was minding his own business, undressing to put on his P.E. clothes, when "he suddenly realized there was a member of the opposite sex changing with him in the locker room, who was at the time wearing nothing but shorts and a bra." He was shocked. When he went to the office to complain that there was a girl in his locker room, the principal told him to deal with it. Exercise tolerance, he was told. But what about the tolerance for his privacy, he thought?
Like the girls in Palatine, Illinois, who were afraid to use the locker room with a boy inside, this junior is refusing to change for gym -- which, the lawsuit explains, has gotten him in trouble with the teacher. He "experienced embarrassment and humiliation, both in terms of being viewed and viewing a student of the opposite sex in a state of undress because of the stigmatization and criticism he received from other students and adults." Now, his attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Independence Law Center (ILC) point out, he even avoids using the restroom during the school day "because of the ongoing risk of having his privacy violated." This is exactly the kind of sexual harassment Title IX outlaws. And while the Left likes to twist the statute into a defense of people who identify as transgender, the reality is that Title IX "allows for sex-segregated facilities as a general matter."
No student should have to sue their school for the right to privacy -- but unfortunately, that's the uncomfortable -- and traumatic -- environment President Obama created. And while the Trump White House made quick work of the former president's bathroom mandates, it's taking a while for local communities to pull these policies up by the roots. "We trust that our children won't be forced into emotionally vulnerable situations like this when they are in the care of our schools, because it's the school's duty to protect and respect the bodily privacy and dignity of all students," ILC Chief Counsel Randall Wenger argued. Maybe it will take lawsuits like this one for schools to learn the lesson: privacy is for everyone.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.