Obama’s transgender bathroom, locker-room, and shower-stall decree belongs high atop the list of edicts that President Donald J. Trump should obliterate. From priorities to prematurity to procedure, this is public policy at its worst.
Obama jointly used his departments of Justice and Education to declare that all learning institutions that take federal funds — from kindergarten through graduate school — must allow students to enjoy the lavatories, locker rooms, showers, other facilities, and sports teams that correspond not to their objective genitalia but to their subjective “gender identity.” According to the DOJ and the DOE: “Gender identify refers to an individual’s internal sense of gender. A person’s gender identity may be different from or the same as the person’s sex defined at birth.”
At that time, Americans were enduring flaccid, 0.5 percent GDP growth, ever-longer wait lists at VA medical centers, and an explosion in homicides, including a 57 percent hike in murders of Chicagoans. Among those killed, 78 percent were black.
What a perfect time for Obama to cleave the country over an issue that was hardly on anyone’s menu. Yet again, his priorities were beyond baffling.
Liberals love “national conversations.” Agree or disagree with the conclusions, Americans indeed engaged in national conversations before major social reforms.
We certainly had wide, open, vigorous debates before women secured the right to vote in August 1920, via the 19th Amendment, and afterward, throughout the feminist movement.
Decades of debate and discussion preceded the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and desegregation.
The Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision in June 2015 followed a national dialogue on gay marriage. Americans concurrently discussed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and other gay-rights topics.
But where was the equivalent national conversation on transgenderism?
Rather than act after (or even during) such back-and-forth — perhaps by calling on Congress to send him relevant legislation or even deciding (how refreshing!) to stay out of this and let the states and the people figure it out — Obama made his decree the opening argument on this matter.
Earlier national conversations usually have been advanced by influential, often charismatic Americans. Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine were among those who led the 13 colonies in considering independence.
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas conducted a legendary conversation over slavery, abolitionism, and whether the union could remain united while half free and half in chains.
Susan B. Anthony and her arguments led the suffragettes toward the ballot box.
In August 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. stirred 250,000 at the Lincoln Memorial — and the entire nation — with his “I Have a Dream” speech.
“My name is Harvey Milk, and I am here to recruit you,” was the oft-repeated slogan of Milk, an early gay-rights leader. Like King, he was assassinated — while serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
But who is the transgender MLK?
Is it famed drag queen RuPaul? Could it be Chelsea, né Bradley, Manning — originally sentenced to 35 years in prison at Fort Leavenworth for espionage? (Obama Tuesday commuted Manning for release next May; one wonders whether Chelsea would have been treated so mercifully if she still were named Bradley.) Why not Caitlyn, né Bruce, Jenner? Jenner told the Washington Post that she is not attracted to men. “As far as I know, I am a heterosexual.” If Jenner became involved with a woman, would that make her a heterosexual lesbian? Jenner cleared this up: “Let’s go with ‘asexual’ for now.”
Also troubling: The T in LGBT seemed to hop onto the gay-rights bandwagon for a free ride. Shouldn’t the transgendered have had their own suffragette marches and their own Montgomery Bus Boycott before being able to nail their T to the LGB? (Transvestites participated in the Stonewall riots, although that event launched the gay-rights movement, not an appeal for transgenderism.)
Also, did I miss the vote when gay men were asked whether or not we wanted to embrace, as our own, men who amputate their penises and fold them into vaginas? Were any lesbians polled to ask them to accept in sisterhood women who reject their “lady parts,” fashion artificial phalluses, and then rechristen themselves as men?
When was the national conversation on that?
For that matter, does Obama’s decree cover such transgendered people who are sufficiently committed to their circumstances that they transform themselves surgically from one sex to the other? Whether one cheers them on or recoils in horror, we all can agree that anybody who undergoes that level of medical intervention is dead serious about all of this.
However, people who “identify” as female can use women’s bathrooms — never mind all that dangles between their legs. Could this be “identifying” as the last step before transsexual surgery, or could it be “identifying” as a female long enough to enter the women’s locker room just when the varsity cheerleaders shower after the big game against Central State University?
No doubt, some sexual predator will “identify” as a female long enough to harass, molest, or rape some girl or woman in a bathroom or locker room somewhere. And when this occurs, I will find this op-ed and lament, “You were warned.”
What about the rights of females to enjoy “girl space” without having to share it with those who “identify” as women, notwithstanding their identifiably male anatomies?.
“I am not saying that transgender people are predators. Not by a long shot,” sexual-assault survivor Kaeley Triller Haver wrote in The Federalist. “What I am saying is that there are countless deviant men in this world who will pretend to be transgender as a means of gaining access to the people they want to exploit, namely women and children. It already happens. Just Google Jason Pomares, Norwood Smith Burnes, or Taylor Buehler, for starters.”
The Seattle-area resident added: “What of my right to do my darndest to insist that the first time my daughter sees the adult male form it will be because she’s chosen it, not because it’s forced upon her? What of our emotional and physical rights?”
And what about the rights of females to enjoy “girl space” without having to share it with those who “identify” as women, notwithstanding their identifiably male anatomies? Where are the feminists who spent decades demanding independence and distance from men? Now, women must share “safe spaces” with uninvited males whose patrimonial penetration gear remains attached, regardless of how they identify themselves.
How many women and girls got to vote on this?
Sara St. Martin Lynne didn’t. The Oakland-based filmmaker says she comes from “a liberation, leftist background.” She defends the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, with which she is involved. This gathering limits participants to “womyn-born womyn.”
“There’s something that I experience on the land when I walk at night without a flashlight in the woods and recognize that for that moment I feel completely safe. And there’s nowhere else I can do that,” Lynne told Michelle Goldberg in The New Yorker. “If, tomorrow, we said everyone is welcome, I’m sure it would still be a really cool event, but that piece that allows women to let down their guard and feel that really deep sense of personal liberation would be different, and that’s what we’re about.”
Lierre Keith co-founded the ecofeminist group Deep Green Resistance. The permaculture farmer from northern California recalled approvingly a 2011 DGR conference in Wisconsin at which someone morphing from male to female was excluded from the women’s accommodations. Ms. Keith told The New Yorker: “We said, ‘That’s fine if you want to come, but, no, you’re not going to have access to the women’s sleeping spaces and the women’s bathrooms.’”
Meanwhile, like or dislike gay marriage, it was pretty obvious what was on offer: Bob marries Jack, and they live happily ever after — or at least as happily as the half of straight couples who stay together these days.
But what does the transgender policy involve? How strongly must one “identify” with one’s non-birth sex to qualify? Surgical intervention? A signed and notorized declaration? A note from Mom? The encouraging, drunken chants of one’s male freshmen floormates eager to see how far one will take a dare?
No one has any idea what’s being proposed here, not least Obama and his comrades.
And where is all of this headed?
For a glimpse of things to come, consider Transgender Service in the U.S. Military: An Implementation Handbook, issued September 30 by the Pentagon. As the Wall Street Journal editorial page made public, this includes several hypothetical scenarios as well as suggestions for how the U.S. armed forces should react.
“A senior officer, Tony, is transitioning to become Tanya,” the guidebook explains. “However, midway through hormone treatment, it becomes increasingly difficult for Tony to meet the male body composition and physical readiness standards.” What, then, are the “Service member responsibilities”? The book advises: “If necessary, work with the MMP [military medical provider] to obtain proper waiver for male physical readiness standards during the period of gender transition.”
Even more shocking:
“Lieutenant Marty changed his gender marker in the Service personnel data system from female to male. . . . Lieutenant Marty approached his commanding officer a few weeks ago and mentioned he was pregnant.”
The appropriate military response?
“Even though Lieutenant Marty has maintained female anatomy, he must be screened for pregnancy prior to deployment. If Lieutenant Marty became pregnant on deployment, he will be transferred in accordance with Service policy.”
Just ponder those three words: “He was pregnant.”
The New York Abortion Access Fund already has.
“We want to make sure that NYAAF isn’t just working toward every woman’s right to access affordable abortion care, but every person’s right, regardless of their gender,” its board of directors declared in a May 2013 manifesto. “We recognize that people who identify as men can become pregnant and seek abortions.”
As demonstrated above, even radical feminists find this brave new world confounding.
“If I were to say in a typical women’s-studies class today, ‘Female people are oppressed on the basis of reproduction,’ I would get called out,” said Rachel Ivey of Radfems Respond. She predicted that other students would demand: “What about women who are male?”
This is light years beyond the looking glass. No American possesses even the vocabulary to weigh these things and their implications. So why not have Obama fling this at us, like Zeus hurling lightning bolts down from Mount Olympus?
RELATED: The Tragic Transgender Contagion
Which brings us to procedure.
All 50 states could figure this out on their own, as President-elect Trump says he would prefer.
It would have been one thing if Congress held hearings on, debated, and then adopted the National Transgender Bathroom, Locker Room, and Shower Access Act of 2016, which Obama could have signed. Many people would remain appalled, but everyone could respect the lawmaking process and the involvement of both the legislative and the executive branches.
Even a pertinent Supreme Court decision would have included evidence, trial testimony, and rulings by judges and juries in lower courts. Next: written appeals and decisions at the circuit-court level. Eventually, the Supremes would have evaluated oral arguments, read amicus curiae briefs, voted among themselves, and then issued a final ruling featuring majority, minority, and concurring opinions. While none of this equals legislation, centuries-old procedures guide the court’s quest for truth and justice.
But none of this satisfied Obama.
He simply instructed the Justice and Education departments to blackmail every school into doing what he wanted or lose federal tax dollars.
So let it be written, so let it be done.
This is how public policy unfolds in Venezuela, the Congo, and Turkmenistan. Not for the first time, Obama inflicted Third World governance norms onto the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
Emperor Obama foisted all of this on the Republic by fiat. His entire transgender policy is a continent wide and a centimeter deep.
A countervailing guidance letter from President Trump’s Justice and Education departments would wash this entire tawdry sand castle into the sea — and it should.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online.