DOJ upholds transgendered man’s lawsuit for right to use female restrooms
posted at 4:07 pm on May 31, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
It is not the policy of this site to shill for charity, but I wanted to make readers aware that time was running out on the chance to help young Jennifer pay for her operation. OK, full disclosure dictates acknowledging that Jennifer isn’t actually that young; according to her website she is 38. Also, the surgery she is seeking—an operation to have her sex reassigned from male to female—would strike many as elective and many more as perverse.
If you’re still feeling empathy toward Jennifer (pictured here, surname Braly), you may want to familiarize yourself with other details of her story before you reach for your checkbook.
Jennifer suffers from gender identity disorder, also known as gender dysphoria. After two marriages (to women) that ended in divorce, Jennifer enrolled at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith (UAFS) as a full-time student.
It was there that her disease threw up a red flag of sorts, at least when she used the toilet. Seeing herself as a woman born into a man’s body, she elected to do her business in the women’s restroom. But the sight of her male “equipment” caused discomfort in some women (who been born into women’s bodies). A number of them banded together and filed a joint complaint with the administration, which ruled that Braly couldn’t use the bathroom facilities with “F” on the door. In what strikes this commentator as a reasonable concession, the university gave Jennifer the go-ahead to use the campus’s several gender-neutral toilet facilities and even offered to convert other single-sex facilities into unisex ones.
Jennifer, however, decided a lawsuit would yield a more satisfactory (read: vengeful) outcome so she contacted the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. That agency responded with a threatening letter to UAFS—and the university capitulated.
[T]he office of civil rights basically made its expectations through the attorney and the decision was made to respond to that direction. [T]he DOJ complaint caused revisiting of our thinking.
In the eyes of the law this individual [Braly] is entitled to use the bathroom that she identifies with.
It’s encouraging that the university was open-minded enough to revisit its thinking on a policy. Now, if administrators could find a way to extract their open minds from their tightly clenched butts, they’d really be getting somewhere. According to its Wikipedia entry, UAFS has a current enrollment of 7,587 students. Even if only one tenth of the student body is female, that means there are 758.7 students who should be able to expect some modicum of decency when they used a public restroom, which I would presume includes not having to look at a man’s “junk.”
If you’re still interested in helping to finance Jennifer’s sex reassignment, it is worth noting that she has so far collected $140 toward her goal of $18,500. It is also worth commenting that, according to the website, only 556 days remain, though I’m not entirely sure why there is a time limit.
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