This week in Transgenderland:
Laverne Cox “makes history!” twice this week first by shouting out “Google Gavin Grimm!” from the Grammy Awards podium and then for being the first transgender actor to star in a regular network series. “Doubt,” a new legal drama that also features a separate transgender character, debuts tonight on CBS. The Grammy Awards also “made history!” by adding a man and a transgender woman to their formerly all-trophy-girl presenters.
Vogue Paris “made history!” with its first ever transgender cover model. The Boy Scouts “made history!” by announcing that transgendered boys are welcome to be Boy Scouts, prompting some to call for opening up Boy Scouts to other girls, too.
Delaware changed its prison policies in response to an ACLU lawsuit based on the 2012 Prison Rape Elimination Act, which forbids prisons from assigning transgendered people to prison based solely on their genitalia. “A transgender offender’s own views with respect to their safety shall be given serious consideration, including whether they believe they would be more safely housed in a male or female facility,” the new policy states.
Meanwhile more than 140 celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Sting, Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Cyndi Lauper, Wilco, Bon Iver, Amy Poehler, Emma Stone, Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Lawrence, Whoopi Goldberg, Amy Schumer, and late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, sternly warned Texas legislators against passing any bathroom bill: “It is up to you whether these bills will become law, and we are watching,” they finger-wagged by letter. (World champion boxer Manny Pacquiao, on the other hand, isn’t buying any of it.)
Minneapolis “made history!” by starting up the first-ever Transgender Equity Council. A New York toymaker announced it will “make history!” by launching the first ever transgender doll (although some of us might think Barbie’s Ken doll qualifies…).
A New Jersey Catholic hospital is being sued for refusing to remove a healthy uterus in a transgender patient (who had to find a different hospital).
North Carolina’s new Democratic governor Roy Cooper is being hit from both sides as he proposes to “repeal and replace” HB2. “This proposal does nothing to address the basic privacy concerns of women and young girls who do not feel comfortable using the bathroom (or) undressing and showering in the presence of men,” Senate president Phil Berger’s spokeswoman said.
“We all know that transgender people do not pose a public safety risk and should be protected from discrimination, not made the targets of it as H.B. 2 does,” countered Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro, calling Cooper’s minor concessions to the Republicans “unnecessary.”
But the single most important thing in Transgenderland was not any of these developments. The really big news is that President Donald J. Trump took a huge first step in delivering on his promise to restore local control in public schools on transgender issues.
Within 24 hours of being sworn in as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions had pulled an Obama Justice department request to a federal appeals court to overturn a federal judge’s nationwide injunction against Obama’s lawless insistence that Title IX requires all public schools let any transgendered person use the shower and locker room (as well as bathrooms, sports teams, and any other gendered space) of her or her choice.
The Obama administration unilaterally decided Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination in public schools now included a ban on LGBT discrimination as well.
It takes real chutzpah to suggest that a law intended to protect girls’ educational and athletic opportunities may now be used to force schoolgirls to shower with biological males, or to deny them a spot on an athletic team because they aren’t as strong or fast as a biological male with gender dysphoria.
When it comes to transgenderism, let us be kind, let us find common sense accommodations, let people live as they choose. But let us not misuse the power of government to invade the privacy rights of girls and women, nor to force us to swallow the Big Lie that people with penises can be women, too.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore