Twenty-sixteen was supposed to be many things — but the Year of the Bathroom? America has the president and his party to thank for that, as they squander their remaining months ascending a different kind of throne. Unfortunately, the White House’s obsession with redefining gender has turned out to be one of the worst political miscalculations of the Obama era.
Weeks later, liberals are on the defensive — thanks to massive pushback from parents and state leaders — leaving the White House to spin an agenda that, most would agree, has hugely backfired. Yesterday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest, in an act of obvious desperation, tried to pin this mess on Republicans — an accusation that would be laughable if it weren’t so ridiculous. “This is a confrontation that Republicans have sought out,” he claimed, “rather cynically — because they are seeking a political advantage. So it’s the Republicans in the North Carolina legislature for example, who convened a special session to ram through H.B. 2…”
First of all, the GOP didn’t seek out this confrontation. They were responding to the overreach of an activist mayor in Charlotte, who trampled the will of angry voters and forced genderless bathrooms on every business, school, and public facility in the city. And guess what? They did so legislatively! The only ones “ram[ming] through” anything are the ideologues at the Obama administration, who continue to bypass Congress to radically reinterpret — and order others violate — the plain language of the law! Democracy may be an unfamiliar concept in a White House seemingly allergic to it, but North Carolina leaders did what they were elected to do: legislate. And ironically, by leaving the policy in the hands of individual businesses and North Carolinians, their law accomplished far more in the way of equity than the administration ever has.
Probably unintentionally, Earnest even seems to admit that his boss’s position is unpopular. How could Republicans use this for their “political advantage” if Americans didn’t side with them? Regardless, Earnest rambles on:
“The comments that we’ve seen from Republicans in other places make clear that they’re not really interested in helping schools confront a difficult policy challenge. They’d rather just cynically appeal to people’s fears in order to gin up political support for their campaigns. And that’s not the approach the administration has taken, and I think that’s evident based on the guidance from the Department of Education on Friday… [when it] put forward best practices and good ideas with regard to how schools can implement this policy in a way that will protect the dignity and safety of every student in the school.”
It’s astounding that Earnest can say with a straight face that the administration is simply helping districts, when it sent a coercive order demanding that schools and colleges open their facilities to anyone or lose federal funding. If that’s “offering assistance,” then we’d hate to see what a real threat looks like. Let’s remember that the letter says: 1) Title IX bans sex discrimination; 2) “gender identity” discrimination is a form of sex discrimination; and 3) denying transgender students the right to use the restroom, locker room, and shower facilities of their choice is a form of “gender identity” discrimination. He claims the order was merely sharing “best practices” for dealing with these issues, and that many school administrators “appreciated” receiving the help. But at the same time, the White House is saying that any policy other than their “best practices” is a violation of federal law! And just in case we didn’t think they were serious about that, they sued the University of North Carolina in federal court only four days earlier on exactly these grounds.
Obviously, the president is trying to move the ball as far down the field for his extreme agenda as he can before leaving office. But if he expected resistance, he certainly didn’t plan for it. “Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has raised the possibility that his state may forfeit its $10 billion of annual federal funding for its schools,” the Wall Street Journal pointed out.
“We hope Texas follows through and is joined by other states. There is more at stake here than sexual identity, not least the self-identity of the United States. The Obama administration’s preoccupation with sex, whether in sophomore year or the fourth grade, raises questions about whether the federal bureaucracies know at all what they are doing on anything resembling the merits… Two years ago on these pages we published ‘Transgender Surgery Isn’t the Solution’ by Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Paul McHugh. In one of the most widely-read pieces we have published, Dr. McHugh pointed out that the idea of gender as subjective ‘personal truth’ has no basis in science. What studies have been done on gender preference also suggest that the belief that these choices result in positive psychological outcomes isn’t proven — especially for students in grade school. Suddenly, though, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has solved the mysteries of gender confusion — for the whole country.”
Sign our petition to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) asking Congress to intervene in the administration’s lawlessness and protect the safety and privacy of America’s children! Also, don’t miss FRC’s latest publications on the firestorm, including “Title IX and Transgendered Students” just released yesterday, as well as “Understanding and Responding to the Transgender Movement,” and our policy lecture, “Bruce or Caitlyn: Why Everyone Should Care about the Transgender Movement.”
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.