OCALA, Fla. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Florida school board is requiring so-called transgender students to use school bathrooms and locker rooms coinciding with their birth gender.
The Marion County school board accepted a resolution on Tuesday directing that school facilities designated for the use of a certain gender — especially locker rooms and bathrooms — can only be used by people who biologically match the designated gender.
It doesn't force so-called transgender to use facilities that contradict the self-chosen gender by which they publicly identify. The resolution directs they too are to have comparable facilities if they don't want to use the one that coincides with their gender at birth. It also notes that "persons who are transgender, gender nonconforming, gender fluid, and/or gender independent are not a protected class under federal or state law or MCPS [Marion County Public Schools] policies."
Originally the district allowed gender dysphoric students to use whichever bathroom that conformed to their "gender identity," but student complaints brought the matter to the board, which voted 4–1 in favor of the measure. A board member referred to the original acceptance as "reverse discrimination."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida is threatening the Marion County school board, maintaining the resolution violates Department of Education statute IX, known as Title IX, stating, "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
A similar policy was enacted in a Virginia school and criticized by a federal judge. Although the court's judgment didn't direct the school to change its policies, it sets the legal precedent that "bathroom laws" are considered discriminatory against transgender individuals. At that point the federal government can deny federal funds to educational institutions.
The recent explosion in coverage for so-called transgender rights has caused many people to take sides on the matter. North Carolina's "bathroom law" has seen lots of attention lately. Businesses like PayPal and various filmmakers have sworn to stay away from the state unless it's repealed. Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest addressed them, saying,
If our action in keeping men out of women's bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it. North Carolina will never put a price tag on the value of our children. They are precious and priceless. If a corporation wanting to do business in North Carolina does not see the worth of our children in the sam [sic] light, then I wish them well as they do business somewhere else.
Target has recently allowed men to use women's restrooms in its stores, and nearly a million people have signed a petition saying they will no longer shop there as a result. People are questioning the new transgender fervor, asking why the safety of the majority of the population must be sacrificed for .03 percent of the U.S. population.
Besides the Florida ACLU threatening the district, members of President Obama's administration have threatened to cut federal money to states or districts that enact religious liberty laws and "bathroom laws."