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Be What You Want to Be

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

You can be anything you want to be. This is apparently not just the motivational urging from a favorite teacher or coach, this is now the official policy of the Obama administration.

The Department of Justice recently argued this point in a brief filed in the case of a Virginia high school student born as a girl, but identifying as a boy. Justice's Civil Rights Division said that "prohibiting a student from accessing the restrooms that match his gender identity is prohibited sex discrimination under Title IX" of the Education Amendments to the Civil Rights Act.

Of course Title IX says nothing about gender identity. The precise wording as properly quoted in the government brief is "[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." However, DOJ claims that this seemingly unambiguous wording requires schools to let students use restrooms consistent with their perceived gender identity even when that is clearly at odds with their biological sex.

Does this mean that we should start removing the "boys" and "girls" signs from bathrooms, locker rooms and showers in public schools across the country? No. In fact the government notes that the Office of Civil Rights has already agreed that Title IX permits sex-separate restrooms.

Sex-separate bathrooms are apparently acceptable, so long as each individual can self-assess their sex. This becomes legislation by definition, making unnecessary enabling laws that say physically opposite individuals can share a bathroom. According to the United States government, boys can be separated from girls in these facilities without legal challenge if each of us can decide whether we are a boy or a girl.

The stated rationale for prohibiting schools from keeping bathrooms, locker rooms and showers sex-separate is equality and anti-discrimination. Yet, the policy of determining bathroom access by gender identity is itself discriminatory. A boy that identifies as a girl can access the girls' bathroom. But, as a boy, who will deny him entrance into the boys' bathroom? This boy is now a member of a small, specially entitled class that has access to both the boys' and girls' bathrooms. Undoubtedly the boy that decides to access the girls' bathroom simply to look around will still be suspended. This is not just special rights, it is special rights justified by legislation designed to prohibit special rights.

The federal government acknowledges that differences between the sexes justify sex-separate facilities. Those that believe biology has betrayed them by placing them in the wrong physical body should be accommodated, but not at the expense of the privacy and safety of those already using those sex-separate facilities.

California based Privacy For All recognizes the need for proactive legislation to keep facilities sex-separate and hopes that their Personal Privacy Protection Act initiative will pass in the Golden State and also become a model for legislation across the country.

The PPPAct initiative, if passed, would require that publicly owned bathrooms, locker rooms and showers in California remain sex-separate. It would also prohibit lawsuits against owners of private bathrooms, locker rooms and showers that choose to keep these facilities sex separate.

Privacy For All is attempting to collect 500,000 signatures of registered voters in California, postmarked by December 14, to qualify the initiative.

Single signature petitions can be downloaded at, signed and mailed.

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