Larry covered the initial marching orders as they were handed down from the White House this week. With no consultation from either the legislative or judicial branches, Barack Obama told all of the schools in America that they needed to ignore established genetic science and age old standards of privacy to allow students to pick their own gender and use whichever bathrooms, locker rooms and showers they feel best suit them. Failing to do so would be met with cutting off their federal education funding regardless of need or scholastic performance.
Needless to say, plenty of school districts were less than thrilled. One school system in Texas immediately informed the White House that the mandate was heading directly into the trash.
“I got news for President Barack Obama,” Port Neches-Groves (Texas) Superintendent Rodney Cavness told 12News. “He ain’t my President and he can’t tell me what to do. That letter is going straight to the paper shredder. I have 5 daughters myself and I have 2,500 girls in my protection. Their moms and dads expect me to protect them. And that is what I am going to do. Now I don’t want them bullied… but there are accommodations that can be made short of this. He is destroying the very fiber of this country. He is not a leader. He is a failure.”
Most of the attention paid to Cavness’ statement focused on the “straight to the paper shredder” comment or the more hyperbolic he ain’t my president outburst. Sadly, the common sense portion of the response has been widely overlooked. “There are accommodations that can be made short of this.”
Good point, Rodney, and you’re absolutely correct. I’m not holding my breath waiting for an outbreak of common sense to overtake this discussion, but there are certainly such measures available. We really shouldn’t need to be making such accommodations in a place responsible for the welfare and education of impressionable children, but this is 21st century America where the SJW movement is running amok and the inmates are essentially in charge of the asylum, so we’ll probably have to find an answer. Fortunately there is one out there which I’ve alluded to before and it’s so simple that a child could identify it. In fact, one high school student already did and managed to get their opinion published in the Washington Post.
The author is Elishe Wittes, a “young trans man” attending a school wrestling with this issue. Much of the filler in the essay might be easily dismissed because it plays into SJW assumptions about trans advocates being right, conservatives being wrong, and chromosomes having nothing to do with your gender. But once you scrape all of that detritus off the package, she arrives at a solution I suggested last year. (Please do read this short excerpt carefully.)
I have a solution to this problem: gender-neutral, single-user bathrooms…
Fortunately, there’s a solution to the bathroom problem that addresses both anti-trans anxieties and trans fears. Imagine a room with a toilet, a sink and a door with a lock. Suddenly everyone’s problems go away. Are you a trans person who’s afraid to use the ordinary gendered bathrooms? Use the single-user bathroom instead. Are you afraid of encountering trans women in the women’s bathroom while you’re putting on your makeup? Use the single-user bathroom.
And this bathroom panacea has other applications, too. Parent with young children who need help? Single-user bathroom. Person with a disability who has trouble in a stall? Single-user bathroom. Someone who just needs a bit of space to calm down? Single-user bathroom.
I hesitate to use the phrase out of the mouths of babes here but that’s a huge dose of common sense packed into a very short space. In fact, there are only two shortcomings to it which may or may not be overcome with a bit of work. The first is the question of cost. New facilities currently under design or construction should be able to either add on some single user, non-gender specific bathrooms and possibly even lockers and shower stalls without too much trouble. (It won’t be free of additional costs, but there was always going to be cash required to deal with this.) Unfortunately, existing schools – and to be honest, all other public facilities of every sort – may not be able to manage it. You need to have the space available near the water and sewer lines to start adding on bathrooms and showers. Then you have to deconstruct a portion of your facility to shoehorn them in. But even so, it could be done if the will and the funding existed.
Unfortunately that might not matter because of the second problem. Let’s say you have both traditional male and female facilities and you add on some single use facilities which anyone can use. That should alleviate every problem which Wittes outlines in her article. But for the majority of the SJW activists we hear speaking up on the issue, that won’t be good enough. It’s not a question of privacy, safety, or being forced into a place you don’t want to be. (In this case using the rest room corresponding to your actual gender.) This is all about forcing it on everyone else because You Will Be Made To Care. If the “transgender student” isn’t allowed to invade the bathroom, locker room or shower of those engaged in accepted private activity it will still be described as discrimination.
The only solution which might overcome this barrier is having zero multi-user facilities and some number of single user rooms in every school, restaurant, gym, public park and everywhere else. This is absolutely feasible in reality – in fact my doctor’s office is set up just that way, as are many others – but only for new construction efforts. Finding both the room and the money to completely eliminate men’s and women’s rooms in buildings all across the land before replacing them with strings of gender neutral doors leading to one person stalls will be a bankrupting effort. It might be done over generations as old buildings are torn down and new ones replace them, but no government mandate will magically create the money to make that happen overnight.
Still, full credit to Elishe Wittes for some clever thinking and at least making an effort to reach a compromise. It would be wonderful if more people turning this pointless debate into a civil war would listen.