Conflicting Transgender Cases Call For Clarity

Two recent federal court decisions regarding “transgender” issues demonstrate the great need for clarity in American public policy regarding sex and gender identity.

Last month, a federal judge in Alaska ruled in favor of a Christian shelter for battered women that had been accused of discriminating against a “transgender” individual. In January 2018, Hope Center turned away a biological male who identified as “transgender,” stating that they did not admit individuals who were under the influence of alcohol. The shelter paid for the male to be transported to the emergency room for treatment of an open wound. The same person came back to the Hope Center the next day, but was denied because the shelter was not admitting new guests until later in the day. The “transgender” individual filed a complaint of discrimination with a municipal human rights commission in Anchorage, Alaska. After the case reached federal court, U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason ruled that the applicable city ordinances did not apply to Hope Center because it is not a place of public accommodation. This is a good result for Hope Center, but it offers no protection for other institutions that are deemed to be public accommodations.

A recent decision out of Virginia is less auspicious. Back in 2015, a high school student calling herself Gavin Grimm sued for the “right” to use opposite-sex facilities at school. While a damaging Obama-era “guidance” document on “transgender” issues has since been rescinded, a federal court in Virginia recently found in Grimm’s favor anyway. According to the court, Grimm’s school had violated Title IX and the Fourteenth Amendment by declining to allow her to access boys’ restrooms. The court reached its flawed conclusion based on the notion that the Title IX ban on sex discrimination includes a ban on “gender stereotyping.” Furthermore, the court opined that the school ought to have allowed Grimm to use the boys’ room because Grimm’s amended birth certificate falsely identified him as a male.

The gender confusion that has become accepted in many American institutions is rooted in an unwillingness to acknowledge sex as a God-given, fundamental part of a person’s identity. From a policy perspective, it is important that the federal government and state governments take certain steps to prevent government from being used as a weapon by those who seek to impose gender confusion upon others. First, legislatures should resist any efforts to pass laws like the proposed federal Equality Act (or New York’s bathroom law) that bar discrimination based upon “gender identity.” Second, in states where such laws have been passed, they should be repealed; failing that, those laws should be amended to reflect that barring access to opposite-sex facilities is not discrimination. Third, states should make it illegal for a birth certificate to be amended to reflect a person’s subjective gender identity. Fourth, Congress should amend Title IX to clarify that its ban on sex discrimination has nothing to do with “transgender” issues.