Last week, the Minnesota Department of Education adopted a transgender guidance “toolkit” that encourages schools to allow students to use whichever bathrooms and changing rooms correspond to their “gender identity” and to “segregate” kids who express concerns about bathroom privacy as a result of this policy.
“Schools should work with transgender and gender nonconforming students to ensure that they are able to access needed facilities in a manner that is safe, consistent with their gender identity, and does not stigmatize them,” the guidance declares.
But allowing students to use whatever bathroom, changing room, or other facility fits their gender identity could also violate the privacy of other students. Girls may not want a boy to be able to change in their locker rooms, even if he thinks he’s a girl. The guidance had an answer for this situation.
“Privacy objections raised by a student in interacting with a transgender or gender nonconforming student may be addressed by segregating the student raising the objection provided that the action of the school official does not result in stigmatizing the transgender or gender nonconforming student,” reads the document.
According to the “toolkit,” schools should let transgender kids use whatever restroom or changing room they want. If other students complain about violations of privacy, these students should be “segregated,” but only if it doesn’t make the transgender student feel “stigmatized.”
In other words, students who don’t want to share facilities with members of the opposite sex are to be treated like second-class citizens. It is these students, not the transgender or “gender nonconforming” kids, who are to be separated from the others and given their own designated restrooms.
This amounts to a new era of “segregation” — the document’s word — in which pro-transgender students have the good restrooms and anti-transgender students are relegated to their own facilities. Instead of having separate single-stall restrooms and changing rooms for transgender people, to avoid any privacy concerns, this guidance says schools should allow boys who think they’re girls in the girls’ restroom, and send girls who disagree into their own separate restroom.
Not only would this policy be much more expensive, it is also unjust viewpoint discrimination against girls (and boys) who are just concerned for their privacy. These kids are not “haters” or “bigots” or “homophobes,” they are just uncomfortable changing in front of members of the opposite sex. Nevertheless, they are to be stigmatized.
In the name of not “stigmatizing” transgender students, normal students will be “stigmatized,” so long as they are uncomfortable with the situation.
In fact, transgender kids are so elevated by this guidance that they are given the imprimatur. Schools should only “segregate” kids who disagree, so long as this action does not make the transgender kids feel discriminated against. This is like having a policy where girls get worse treatment, but only so long as boys don’t feel victimized by that. It makes absolutely no sense.
Even so, the Minnesota Department of Education approved the “toolkit,” as local ABC News affiliate KSTP reported. Charlene Briner, deputy commissioner at Minnesota’s Department of Education, said the document is not a mandate to schools, but only a “collection of resources and best practices.”
“A lot of these decisions are made at the local level by administrators,” Briner said. “Schools are already dealing with this and they’ve been asking for some help, because these issues are uncomfortable, both for the community and the families of transgender individuals.”
Apparently, the issues are now to become even more uncomfortable for any little boy or girl who expresses concern about having members of the opposite sex in the same restroom.