Chicago Public Schools are now requiring schools in the district to ensure all restrooms are “gender-neutral,” erasing single-sex spaces for males and females alike.
That will be not only harmful to the safety and privacy of young people, it’s also yet another disheartening decision to ignore biological differences between the sexes and to create an androgynous society.
On Nov. 27, Chicago Public Schools’ Twitter account announced the new policy, tweeting:
There cannot be true equity in our district without gender equity for our students and staff. Learn about how we’re requiring all schools to adopt new signage to make our restrooms more inclusive.
Via a brief video, Camie Pratt, chief Title IX officer for the Chicago Public Schools, explained the policy:
In compliance with new federal guidelines, all CPS students and staff will have fair and equitable access to bathroom facilities that align with their gender identity.
We will be providing all schools with updated signage that makes our bathrooms more inclusive. They will identify the fixtures available in each restroom and make it clear that all restrooms are open for use by anyone who feels comfortable.
Staff will continue to have staff-only bathrooms available to them.
According to the video, the signs will have descriptions such as:
- Gender Neutral Washroom.
- All Gender Restroom. This is a single-stall restroom. All gender identities and expressions are welcome here.
- This is a gender-neutral restroom with multiple stalls. It is open to users of any gender identity or expression.
- Men’s +: This restroom has both urinals and stalls. All who feel comfortable are welcome to use this restroom.
- Women’s +: This restroom has stalls. All who feel comfortable are welcome to use this restroom.
There are 421 district-run elementary schools and 91 district-run high schools within the Chicago Public Schools system. The total number of restrooms involved was not immediately available.
According to the Chicago Public Schools’ website, last school year there were 340,658 children enrolled in those schools.
There are several problems inherent in the new school restrooms guidelines:
First, Pratt claims that the Chicago Public Schools system is making the change to be “in compliance with new federal guidelines.” Although there’s no federal law on the subject yet, President Joe Biden did issue an executive order on his second day in office on Jan. 21 “combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
In that executive order, Biden cited Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision that “held that Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination ‘because of … sex’ covers discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation,” and contended that, by extension, so does Title IX.
Elections really do have consequences, and now school systems are using all this as an excuse to infringe on students’ privacy and safety.
Second, while someone needs to monitor Title IX compliance, Pratt and the other members of the school system responsible for that have taken Title IX too far and flipped it on its head.
Title IX is a civil rights law enacted to prohibit sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools. Passed in 1972, it surely never was intended to be utilized to open up previously private restroom spaces so that now girls are required to share bathrooms with boys and vice versa.
Erasing single-sex restrooms is an egregious misuse of Title IX. Forcing a young woman navigating female-specific puberty developments to share bathrooms with biological boys seems particularly cruel and hardly fair or “equitable.”
Third, so-called social justice issues such as transgender bathrooms are growing in prominence even though the population of transgender students remains vanishingly small.
In addition, while school administrations focus on “all-gender” bathrooms, the real purpose of schools—namely, to educate—seems to take a back seat to social engineering. According to recent statistics, Chicago Public Schools only graduates 84% of its students, and only 26% of 11th graders are proficient in reading and math.
Shouldn’t the school system put more emphasis and resources on helping Chicago students learn and less on changing bathroom signage?
Finally—and most importantly—this new policy obliterates privacy and safety for both girls and boys, young women and young men.
Single-sex restroom spaces are not just common sense, they provide a safe and private space for the most basic of human bodily functions. Imposing this policy by fiat on the entire district ensures the majority suffers for the sake of a tiny handful of transgender youth.
It’s not clear whether parents were polled or given a heads-up about this new policy beforehand.
A better solution might be to let each school decide its own restroom policies, or preferably to encourage schools to provide a third restroom option solely for students who are transgender.
Biological differences between the sexes are normal, and we should celebrate them—“vive la difference!”—not try to write them out of existence.
Policies such as Chicago’s are not only an abuse of Title IX and harmful to young people, they also push society down a path of imposing androgyny as orthodoxy.
Women, especially, have fought for decades to be treated equally. Restroom policies like Chicago’s are not a move toward “equality,” but toward a new kind of society where females, including their need for their own spaces, are erased in the name of “inclusion.”
How ironic is that?
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