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How will South respond to new Title IX change?

Joel Goode, Opinion Editor

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Last August, students and faculty at the University of South Alabama received an email from Title IX coordinator Krista Harrell.

“The University of South Alabama allows individuals to use the restroom or changing facility that is consistent with their gender identity,” said Harrell. “This is in compliance with Title IX guidance recently issued by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice.”

The directive came as part of a ruling by the Obama administration to ensure transgender people would be able to use bathrooms they felt secure in.

Last Wednesday, President Trump ended the protections for transgender students issued by the Obama administration.

The Obama mandate tackled a holdover of anti-civil rights logic stating that bathroom access should be based on the sex of the individuals using the facilities.

To clarify, sex is determined by the genitals a person is born with. Gender, on the other hand, is aligned to the actual psychological identity of a person.  

What makes the argument of anti-transgender rights advocates irrational is the tacit assumption that people who psychologically identify as female should be relegated to male bathrooms, and that people who psychologically identify as male should be relegated to female bathrooms.

Imagine a woman being forced to use a men’s bathroom. By the same token, imagine a man being forced to use a women’s bathroom. This is the reality faced by transgender people living in communities where they are not allowed to use the restroom of their self-identified gender.

Sex-as-opposed-to-gender bathroom regulations are a form of psychological cruelty rooted in hypocrisy. Fear-mongering “Men allowed in Women’s Bathrooms” headlines emerged from anti-civil rights media in reaction to the Obama administration’s directive. Such commentators were, by nature, saying that men should be forced to use women’s bathrooms, and that women should be forced to use men’s bathrooms.

Transphobic rhetoric appeals to fears of sexual violence, with little regard for the fact that, according to data gathered by organizations like the FBI, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, transgender people are grossly disproportionately likely to be victims of sexual violence, not perpetrators.

Many states and schools openly rebelled against the Obama administration’s directive, which, according to the BBC, did not impose direct penalties but threatened to cut funding to those who did not comply. With the effects of Trump’s counter-ruling still on the horizon, USA should take a stand and enforce the values it adhered to when it complied with Obama’s directive. Which is to say, not the values of the letter of the law, but the values of human rights that underlie the previous administration’s virtuous yet belated policy decision.

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How will South respond to new Title IX change?