The Obama administration has unlawfully rewritten law, meddling in state and local matters, and imposing bad policy on the entire nation.
Americans agree that while we should be sensitive to transgender individuals, others also have rights of privacy, safety, and their own beliefs that deserve respect and should not simply be pushed aside, especially when transgender persons can be accommodated in other ways.
The risk to the privacy and safety of women and girls is real. There have been numerous cases in recent years of men either cross-dressing or claiming to be transgender in order to access women’s bathrooms and locker rooms for inappropriate purposes. Here are six examples:
- In 2009, a sex offender named Richard Rendler was arrested for wearing fake breasts and a wig while loitering in a women’s restroom in a Campbell, California, shopping center. Rendler had previously been arrested on charges of child molestation and indecent exposure.
- In 2010, Berkeley police arrested Gregorio Hernandez. Hernandez had disguised himself as a woman on two separate occasions to get inside a UC Berkeley locker room. Once in the locker room, Hernandez allegedly used his cell phone to photograph women.
- In 2013, Jason Pomare was arrested for cross-dressing in order to gain access to the women’s restroom at a Macy’s department store in Palmdale, California. Pomare snuck a video camera in to secretly videotape women while they used the restroom.
- In 2014, Christopher Hambrook—who faked being a transgender person named Jessica—was jailed in Toronto, Canada. Hambrook preyed on women at two Toronto shelters, and had previously preyed on other women and girls as young as 5 years old to as old as 53. Hambrook’s case in particular shows the importance of protecting the privacy and safety of some of our most vulnerable citizens: the homeless and others who seek emergency shelter. And yet, the Obama administration recently proposed a rule that would impose a “gender identity” mandate here as well.
- In 2015, two spying instances were recorded in Virginia—one at a mall and one at a Wal-Mart. Both instances involved a man in women’s clothing who used a mirror and camera to take pictures of a mother and her 5-year-old daughter and a 53-year-old woman while they were in neighboring restroom stalls. The suspect wore a pink shirt and a long wig to present himself as a woman.
- In 2016, a man used a women’s locker room at a public swimming pool in Washington state to undress in front of young girls who were changing for swim practice. When Seattle Parks and Recreation staff asked him to leave, the man claimed that “the law has changed and I have a right to be here.” The man was apparently referring to a Washington state rule that allows individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. However, the man made no attempt to present as a woman.
As these examples illustrate, there are people who will abuse transgender policies. Although the Obama administration wants to keep its focus on bathrooms, its transgender directive goes much farther and actually requires biological male students who identify as female be granted unfettered access to women’s and girls’ showers at school gyms.
So what are women and girls to do when a biological male wearing a wig and makeup walks in to an open shower next to them and they are shocked by the intrusion? According to the administration’s directive, “the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort” is no reason at all to prevent transgender people from accessing the intimate facilities of their choice.
Moreover, the directive prevents schools from requiring transgender people to have surgery, take hormones, have a medical diagnosis, or even act or dress in any particular way before having the “right” to be treated exactly like a person of the opposite sex.
The logical effect would be to silence women and girls who might otherwise speak out to prevent serious crimes from happening for fear that they would be accused of bigotry if they make the wrong call.
The interests and desires of transgender persons, especially adults, shouldn’t be placed over the privacy and safety of women and girls. There are ways of accommodating transgender people with private facilities without endangering and silencing women who could be hurt by policies allowing anyone unfettered access to their lockers, showers, and bathrooms.