I’ve lost count of the number of cases we’ve covered here involving “transgender children” suing their schools over access to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers designated for the opposite sex. None are fully resolved yet and we’re still waiting for the Supreme Court to weigh in, if they ever actually do. But this week we ran across a different sort of story which highlights the conflicts resulting from these school based scenarios as seen from the other side. In Pennsylvania there is one decidedly male student who is taking his school to court after finding that he was being forced to change into his gym clothes in front of a girl, described in the media coverage as a “transgender boy who is still transitioning.” (Daily Caller)
A Pennsylvania high school student filed a lawsuit Tuesday against his school district after he was forced to share a locker room with a transgender boy.
The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff, “Joel Doe,” suffered immense embarrassment when a transgender student changed in front of him, reports CBS Philly.
“Joel Doe experienced immediate confusion, embarrassment, humiliation, and loss of dignity upon finding himself in this circumstance,” the lawsuit maintains.
Doe was in the middle of changing into his P.E. clothes when he spotted the transgender boy student in her bra and shorts. The student was still in the middle of transitioning from female to male, Kellie Fiedorek of the Alliance Defending Freedom, explained.
Everyone in the press is still performing acts of linguistic contortion when trying to talk about this situation. When you find yourself writing an article about a “transgender boy” who was changing, “in her bra and shorts” in the locker room, your spell checking software will probably begin melting down. Of course, in a more sane world none of this would be necessary, but… welcome to 2017.
I have to offer a tip of my hat to “Joel Doe” in this story because it actually took quite a bit of intestinal fortitude to move forward with this lawsuit. Having been a teenage boy myself back in the day (okay… way back in the day), I can tell you that this probably wasn’t easy. High school boys can be incredibly harsh when they find a target to amuse themselves with and one can only imagine the teasing that Joel is putting up with because he was “afraid to see a naked girl” in the locker room with him.
But for the adults in the room this situation highlights precisely why we should be concerned about it. As Kellie Fiedorek from the Alliance Defending Freedom points out in the Daily Caller piece, it’s been long established not only in law but under long held social customs that we shouldn’t have to undress in front of persons of the opposite sex if we don’t wish to. This is exponentially more true when you’re talking about children. Granted, the cases which draw the most attention are the ones where girls may find themselves being forced to disrobe in front of boys, but the opposite holds equally true. Just because one family in that school district has a daughter who they are allowing to engage in gender impersonation, that doesn’t mean that the children of the rest of the families are obligated to play along. There is no reason for a young boy to go into the school locker room and be exposed to a fellow student’s breasts and genitals during their formative years. (And yes, I can hear all the boys snickering about it now, but it’s true.)
No matter who prevails in this suit it’s going to be challenged on appeal and that’s probably a good thing. Too many other lawsuits currently percolating through the system are based almost entirely on the dry, structural questions of adjustments to Title IX, federal school funding or state versus federal issues. This one cuts a bit closer to the bone and might finally force the courts to take up the question of whether or not millennia of settled science and current medical understanding of DNA and the difference between the sexes can be tossed out the window for someone who “feels like the other gender.” More to the point, can those “feelings” be imposed on everyone else regardless of privacy and propriety? Those are the answers we need from the courts, assuming we can force them to take up the challenge.