Transgender Entitlement: The New Orthodoxy on Campus

Trans students in the #AskMe video
Our universities are just as religious as they used to be, only the religion has changed.

With blinding speed, the sexual revolutionaries are moving on from the cause of gay marriage to recasting and rethinking law, culture, religion, and biology for the sake of indulging the troubled fantasies of a tiny, disturbed population of transgendered, or “genderqueer,” Americans. Nowhere is that trend more advanced than in colleges and universities, where entirely new policy and education infrastructures are being created to cater to transgender students, and — critically — suppress dissenting views of sexuality and morality, in the name of “safety.”

Last year the Obama administration’s Department of Education lawlessly expanded Title IX, the federal statute prohibiting sex discrimination in higher education, to encompass “claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.” As a consequence, the menu of transgender demands regarding pronouns, names, bathroom facilities, and university resources became legal demands, and dissent from those demands immediately became a matter of legal concern.

To understand the sense of entitlement on these matters, and the university culture’s enthusiastic response, one only has to hear transgender students in their own words. I received my morning e-mail from The Chronicle of Higher Education, and it featured the video below, part of its “ask me” series. In it, transgendered students from around the nation discuss the “array of challenges and safety issues” they face on campus:

It’s an astonishing video — astonishing in how the students describe “safety” (they’re almost always referring to a sense of emotional safety) in terms of fears, including fears of being “misgendered,” of being called a guy by casual passers-by when they identify as a girl, of not being permitted to use the bathrooms of their choice, and of not having on-campus administrators or facilities that cater sufficiently to their needs.

With great feeling, they describe the anguish of being called by the “wrong” pronoun, or the horror of a professor using a “legal name” over a “preferred name.” And make no mistake, the gender identities are all over the map, with students describing themselves as “a queer trans man who is also Christian-identified and white,” “a ‘dom’ — or masculine of center,” or “masculine for the time being, I’m trying it out,” or “poly-pansexual, transsexual,” or “queer, genderqueer, or non-binary trans person.”

In the area of safety, they describe being “unsafe” if they can’t use the bathroom they want to use, or if they get “stares.” The most outrageous incident is of a “trans female” being escorted out of a woman’s restroom by a security guard. As one student says, “Anybody on the scale of fluidity with their gender, they need to be able to go into the bathroom that they’re most comfortable with, and no one should be able to be harassed or moved by security.”

Changing the law to ratify radicalism privileges the demands of a tiny minority at the expense of the religious orthodoxy of tens of millions.

When it comes to university resources, they want their own housing, their own spaces free from others talking about sex and dating, university employees who support them, and various “resource centers” — including “gender-inclusive learning centers.” Ultimately, they want classes that are “inclusive,” where professors establish a “safe space.” They want environments where everyone is “kind, and loving, and accepting.” Or, as one student summed up, they want “an environment where I feel supported, where I can grow, be nurtured, and be validated in all aspects of my identity.”

#share#It is one thing to make requests of professors, students, and administrators — to exercise your rights of free speech in a pluralistic democracy and seek to be addressed in certain ways or to have resources allocated to your benefit. Americans do that every day. It’s another thing entirely when a radical view of human sexuality is so privileged that it’s enshrined by law, when disagreement is a matter not for discussion but of discrimination. When Title IX is interpreted to permit acts of indecent exposure by “trans” students, when the law requires people to actually lie about biological sex (calling “he” a “she” or even a “kidd”), the state is beginning to coerce agreement with sexual-revolution values. California, for example, grants workers the “right to be addressed by the name and pronoun that corresponds to your gender identity.” 

It’s convenient, of course, that the likely targets of discrimination complaints are the same Christians and other cultural conservatives the Left loves to hate. Given the small number of troubled people who identify as “trans,” changing the law to ratify radicalism is far more exclusive than it is inclusive. It privileges the demands of a tiny minority at the expense of the religious orthodoxy of tens of millions. There was a time when most American schools were thoroughly religious, designed to train and equip believers to transform the culture. Our universities are just as religious as they used to be. The religion, however, has changed. Just ask any administrator in good standing, “ze” can surely teach you the new creeds.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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