Sex Matters

In a welcomed move, the United States Supreme Court this morning responded to the Trump administration’s recent guidance document on school locker rooms, showers and bathrooms by vacating the Fourth Circuit’s May 2016 opinion in the case of G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, instructing the lower court to rehear the case in light of this policy reversal.

The Court was brief and unobtrusive in its Order, writing only the following:

“The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of the guidance document issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice on February 22, 2017.”

This is good news for students and parents everywhere who care about the privacy, dignity and safety of public school children. Last year, the Obama administration radically distorted a federal law that is meant to equalize educational opportunities for women, putting the privacy, dignity and safety of school kids at risk.

But with last month’s letter rescinding that Obama-era policy and now the Supreme Court’s vacating the lower court’s decision that bowed to that radical departure from the law’s meaning, the legal tide is quickly turning on this issue. And if the Fourth Circuit stays true to its own logic when it rendered its first opinion – that gave a federal agency near absolute power in interpreting law – upholding the federal agency’s interpretation of Title IX, then we should expect their decision this time to go the opposite way, effectively meaning that “sex” would simply mean what it has always meant – biological male or female.

It’s common sense that boys should not be given access to girls’ showers and locker rooms.  No one should expect young girls to undress and be exposed to a member of the opposite sex in intimate settings like showers and locker rooms.  A Mason-Dixon poll conducted in January found that 57 percent of Virginians oppose allowing school children to use the shower, locker room or restroom of their choice.  Reasonable Virginians can find a way to accommodate a small number of students struggling with sexual identity without compromising the rights of every other child. Perhaps now, we can finally begin to have that conversation.