Faith, we are reliably informed, is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The troubled 16-year-old girl from Gloucester, Virginia who calls herself Gavin Grimm, and insists on being treated as if she were a boy, is acting on something other than faith by denying substantive facts that are plain to be seen by fellow high school students who would share bathroom facilities with her.
Those students, and the school faculty, have unwisely indulged Grimm in her delusion to the extent of providing her – and others who have qualified for the trendy and politically potent diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” – with unisex bathroom facilities. To avoid potentially unsettling encounters in locker rooms, Grimm was allowed to do P.E. at home.
Grimm registered as a female for her 9th grade year at Gloucester High School before deciding (perhaps as a result of prolonged immersion in Tumblr, I suspect) that she was actually a male, irrespective of her biological sex. Her parents, along with school administrators and counselors, were unfailingly supportive after Grimm announced a desire to “transition” in a “social” – but not anatomical – sense. An Orwellian revision of school records was made to reflect Grimm’s new “gender identity”; an official e-mail was dispatched ordering teachers to address her as if she were a biological male.
As Grimm herself has acknowledged, “no teachers, administrators, or staff at Gloucester High School expressed any resistance to calling me by my legal [meaning male] name or referring to me using male pronouns.” Students were unfailingly supportive – and understandably confused when Grimm opted not to use any of the three “unisex” bathroom facilities that had been provided at substantial expense to local tax victims. Owing to their indoctrination, female students looked upon Grimm as a boy; owing to their residual allegiance to reality, many male students still saw her as a girl.
Why was Grimm avoiding the unisex bathrooms in the first place? In the lawsuit inevitably filed by the pressure groups exploiting her, Grimm insisted that it was “stigmatizing” to use those facilities. In this fashion she imputed unspoken motives to people who had (by her own admission) said nothing offensive to her. She likewise complained that by being required to use the unisex bathrooms she was subjected to “different and unequal treatment.”
This much is incontestable: The treatment she received was manifestly unequal when compared to that given to students who were not recognized as “specially protected” specimens and thus did not share her entitlement to rearrange local reality according to the dictates of her whimsical self-image.
While it is unwise to reinforce the delusions of an emotionally troubled adolescent girl – and criminal to use plundered wealth to that purpose -- nobody has the right to punish her for them, or to compel her to abandon them. On the same principle, neither she nor any of the ideologically deranged adults who are cheerfully exploiting her has the right to compel others to participate in her fantasy, which is the purpose of her lawsuit.
The activist groups who have battened on Grimm’s lawsuit seek nothing less than federal intervention to compel people to take part in what amounts to an exercise in participatory solipsism: Because Grimm is an accredited member of the “specially protected” class, hers is the only mental state that matters, and those unworthy of that designation must defer to her. Mere material accommodation is insufficient; every thought must be taken captive in the service of “gender justice,” or whatever label is currently affixed to the bottle containing this bilge.
In a ruling that should surprise nobody who is paying attention, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, has demanded that the Gloucester School District permit Grimm to use restroom facilities reserved for biological males. This is supposedly required by the infinitely expandable Title IX of the federal educational amendments of 1972, which forbids “sex discrimination” on the part of any educational institution that receives any amount of federal subsidies.
This ruling, predictably, ignores the actual text of the law, relying instead on a letter composed by an appointed functionary in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights that elides the critical difference between sex – an innate physical characteristic – and “gender” – which is, apparently, a protean social artifact. The author of that letter has no legal or constitutional authority to revise the text of the statute at issue. Such matters are inconsequential to social justice warriors, whether in foundation-funded pressure groups or judicial robes.
In a dissent that reflects the tautly controlled exasperation of a rational man surrounded by Bedlamites, Judge Paul Niemeyer writes that the US Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX overturns “all universally accepted protections of privacy and safety that are based on the anatomical differences between the sexes.”
“This unprecedented holding overrules custom, culture, and the very demands inherent in human nature for privacy and safety, which the separation of such facilities is designed to protect,” Niemeyer continued. “More particularly, it also misconstrues the clear language of Title IX and its regulations. And finally, it reaches an unworkable and illogical result” – which is the ideal outcome for people driven by an insatiable appetite to reform what they see as defects in the way others live and think.
Grimm professes that she feels psychological distress when using girl’s bathroom facilities in the presence of other biological females. The same would be true of male students compelled to share bathrooms with her. However, they belong to an unprivileged class and, therefore, their discomfort is not relevant – unless they should act on it by absenting themselves when Grimm materializes among them. This would be “stigmatizing” behavior and, thus, unacceptable. So what would be the appropriate remedy? Will school resource officers be on hand to enforce a regime of compelled bathroom integration? If not, why not?
Totalitarianism is a political system in which the State seeks to reconfigure society in harmony with an ideological abstraction. This makes it impossible for people to relate to each other without constant supervision by the Enlightened Ones, backed by the constant threat, and frequent imposition, of punitive sanctions. The Regime has been pursuing this design, through various means, since roughly 1865, as Professor George P. Fletcher documents in his book The Secret Constitution: How Lincoln Redefined American Democracy.
Fletcher, a self-described Marxist who taught at Columbia University School of Law, insists that the true purpose of the War Between the States, and the Reconstruction of the South, was not to end chattel slavery, but rather to replace the original constitutional order with a unitary Regime in which the central government would have illimitable power to regulate the personal behavior of its subjects.
“The heart of the new consensus is that the federal government, victorious in warfare, must continue its aggressive intervention in the lives of its citizens,” wrote Fletcher approvingly. The Founders' Constitution, according to the men who framed it, would supposedly protect liberty by prescribing a handful of limited powers to the central government, thereby proscribing the exercise of any others by it.
That arrangement was changed as a result of the War and Reconstruction, according to Fletcher, since “the liberty that comes to the fore in the intended postbellum constitutional order and under the Secret Constitution requires the intervention of government. Liberty is born in the state's assertion of responsibility to oversee and prevent relationships of oppression.” (Emphasis added.)
By this formula, the more aggressively the federal government intervenes in our private lives, the “freer” we become. In the case of Gavin Grimm, the Regime has arrogated to itself the power to redefine basic matters of biology, thereby giving itself a very broad license for aggressive intervention in the most intimate areas of life – in this case, the lives of minor children.
Judge Niemeyer, striving with admirable but doomed determination to remind his colleagues that something called the law exists, observes: “An individual has a legitimate and important interest in bodily privacy such that his or her nude or partially nude body, genitalia, and other private parts are not exposed to persons of the opposite biological sex.”
This is an elemental property right. Gavin Grimm does not have a property right entitling her to require others to see her as a boy. The totalitarian scope of the Regime’s ambition is made clear by its determination to punish those unwilling to pretend otherwise.
This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast examines the perverse persistence of Prohibition:
Dum spiro, pugno!
Dum spiro, pugno!