Should Boys Be Allowed in Girls’ Locker Rooms?
A boy is now allowed in a high school girls’ locker room. On December 2, 2015, a school district in Illinois and the Department of Education reached a settlement agreement in which the district must allow a biological boy who identifies as a girl access to the girls’ locker rooms. The school had already permitted him full access to the girls’ restrooms.
It’s not like I’m that old, but my goodness, how times have changed. For example, when I was in high school, we used landline phones to call people. (I still remember my friends’ numbers.) And we spent time having actual conversations. No one really had e-mail yet and social media accounts didn’t exist. In some ways, it seems like a million years ago. Oh, and boys and girls had separate restrooms and locker rooms. It was generally considered a bad idea for them to change clothes or to shower in the same room. Not so much anymore.
A little background on this Illinois case:
- The biological boy identifying himself as a girl (“Student A” as he is called in relevant documents) was born a male but started identifying as a female during middle school.
- Student A’s parents met with members of the school district to plan Student A’s transition to high school.
- Among many other requests granted, the school changed Student A’s gender to female in computer systems, used female pronouns, and allowed Student A to participate on girls’ athletic teams.
- It permitted Student A full access to all girls’ restrooms.
- It did not, however, allow Student A access to girls’ locker rooms due to privacy concerns. Rather, it gave Student A access to other, separate rooms to change and to shower. Student A stated that this made him feel ostracized and embarrassed and not fully accepted as a girl.
- Thereafter, Student A filed a complaint.
On November 2, 2015, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights found the school to be in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws. It gave the district 30 days to allow the student access to locker rooms, or it would be at risk of losing federal funding. Unfortunately, the school district caved and reached a settlement agreement that includes the following provisions:
- Student A must be allowed in the girls’ locker room. Student A said he would use a privacy curtain.
- The school must install other privacy curtains for girls to use if they wish not to expose themselves in front of this biological male.
- The school must provide Student A a “support team” upon request to help protect Student A from any gender-based discrimination.
This has huge implications. The Office of Civil Rights is starting to find public schools to be in violation of civil rights laws over transgender/gender identity issues. Essentially, the federal government is forcing schools and families to accept this agenda or else lose funding. At a minimum, if schools choose to disagree, they will have to engage in costly, lengthy legal battles.
Why is it wrong to allow biological boys in girls’ locker rooms? Here are 4 reasons:
- Violation of Privacy. Young girls (or any women for that matter) should not be forced to have males in their most intimate, private space. Teenage girls often battle insecurity about their bodies. Allowing biological boys in the same area is only going to make matters worse. By the way, if feminists are truly concerned about the well being of women and girls, why are they silent on these issues?
- No Limitations. The school is trying to calm angry parents by emphasizing that this settlement agreement applies only to Student A. While that is what the agreement explicitly states, it’s unrealistic to think the same requirements wouldn’t apply to other situations. Certainly other boys identifying as girls will have to be allowed the same access. And what about male students who wish to identify themselves as girls for a week or a month or a semester? And then go back to being regular boys? There is no consistent way to distinguish those scenarios under the current rationale.
- Elimination of Modesty. While the school has installed privacy curtains, no students are required to use them. The state and the school are thus endorsing the idea that biological boys and girls can change clothes and shower in the same room. Rather than encouraging the idea that their bodies are something to be protected and valued, it does the opposite. I’m not arguing that separate restrooms and locker rooms will solve all problems; teenagers are always going to be teenagers. Yet, the idea that the state and school system not only encourage but require it is almost unbelievable.
- Safety Concerns. Sadly, the safety of female students is dismissed completely. Once these types of laws become commonplace, what about a male teacher or coach who identifies as female? Would everyone be okay with him roaming around the girls’ locker room? It’s inevitable under this line of reasoning.
Every person needs to be treated with compassion and respect. Teenagers struggling with gender identity issues or sexual orientation need love and care. At the same time, the freedoms and safety of all students need to be considered along with the fundamental values of our families and society.
I think our culture needs to go back to homeroom. Our core principles are being tested. And is political correctness really the right answer? As frustrating as it is, we can’t be absent or tardy for this cultural debate. We need to be present and participate before the bell rings and any remaining values run out the door.
Pop quiz: Do you think (a) biological boys and girls should have separate locker rooms; (b) it’s okay to have biological boys and girls share locker rooms if there are privacy curtains available; or (c) there is no concern with biological boys and girls sharing locker rooms?