Judge in transgender case: Girls have no rights to ‘visual bodily privacy’

by WorldTribune Staff, April 11, 2019

While allowing a lawsuit to proceed against an Illinois school district which allows transgender students to use the facilities of their choice, a federal judge threw out the student-plaintiffs’ argument that they have the right to “bodily privacy,” saying that right refers to physically being touched by others, “not visual bodily privacy.”

Judge Jorge Alonso of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division is allowing a lawsuit to proceed against Chicago Township High School District 211, which adopted the Obama-era transgender policy permitting boys claiming to be female to use the girls’ bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.

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The judge informed the girls who are suing the school district, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), that, “[s]o far, the right not to be seen unclothed by the opposite sex is not on the Supreme Court’s list.”

Additionally, the judge dismissed the students’ claim that parents’ right to direct their children’s education applies in this case. Alonso said that right refers only to parents’ choice of type of education or schooling, Breitbart News reported on April 9.

In 2016, the district, without informing parents, opened its schools’ bathrooms to boys claiming to be female. Later, it allowed a boy claiming to be transgender into the girls’ locker room after the Obama administration’s Department of Education threatened the district’s federal funding in the amount of $6 million, Breitbart reported.

Initially, the school district arranged for a private dressing area in the girls’ locker room for the boy, but federal officials complained the arrangement stigmatized the student. The district wound up allowing the boy to use the girls’ locker room openly as if he were a biological girl.

The Trump administration has rescinded the Obama administration’s policy and restored Title IX to the understanding that “sex” means biological sex – male or female – rather than perceptions or beliefs about one’s gender.

Judge Alonso wrote in his decision: “Before adopting the policy, District 211 did not investigate the reliability of the science underlying gender-affirmation treatments. Nor did it make any effort to understand the impacts such a policy would have on students exposed to opposite-sex, same-gendered students in locker rooms and restrooms.”

The judge acknowledged the school district’s enforcement of the transgender policy has caused the students “embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, fear, apprehension, stress, degradation and loss of dignity.”

The students “are at continual risk of encountering (and sometimes do encounter), without their consent, members of the opposite sex while disrobing, showering, urinating, defecating and while changing tampons and feminine napkins,” he added.

Christiana Holcomb, ADF legal counsel, said, “a compassionate approach to protecting students’ privacy” is needed.

“We welcome the court’s decision to allow key claims to move forward,” Holcomb said. “The district officially authorizes opposite-sex use of school privacy facilities, and that violates Title IX. Letting boys into girls’ showers, restrooms, and locker rooms is sexual harassment. Students should be confident that their school will protect their privacy and dignity. So far, this school district has failed to do so.”

Meanwhile, 234 House Democrats have co-sponsored a bill requiring schools to allow male athletes who identify as transgender girls to compete on female sports teams.

The only Democrat not co-sponsoring the Equality Act is Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, who is also the only pro-life Democrat in the House.

Reps. John Katko of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania are the only House Republicans to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill.

The legislation would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make “sexual orientation and gender identity” protected characteristics under federal anti-discrimination law.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, said during an April 2 hearing on the legislation that “Many states have sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination laws, and all of them still have women’s sports. Arguments about transgender athletes participating in sports in accordance with their gender identity having competitive advantages have not  been borne out.”

In Connecticut, one of the states to which Nadler was referring, two male sprinters have dominated girls’ high school track. A female competitor called the male runners’ advantage “demoralizing.”

Julia Beck, the head of a self-described radical feminist organization, testified against the bill, saying it would lead to a male invasion of female spaces, including on the athletic field. “Men will dominate female sports,” she warned.

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