Friday, February 24, 2017
Emery empathizes with parents of transgenders since their kids "will never be parents themselves"
Although unable to send you a report from the Capitol last week, I can try to get back on schedule this week. Recent legislation on the Senate floor has included two bills that I oppose – both create new databases of personal information. One is the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) and the other is to comply with the federal REAL-ID mandate. The PDMP bill, SB 74, was perfected while the REAL-ID, SB 37 will have more debate. I may write more about those bills at a later date.
Senate Bill 98 may have created the most controversy this week. In a room filled with TV cameras and photographers, there was testimony over whether a boy can be banned from the girls’ shower room or a girl from the boys’. To most parents, restrictions on access to their children while in a state of undress would be governed by the timeless convention of gender separation: boys would shower with boys and girls with girls.
Over 300 witness forms were submitted to the Senate Education Committee in support of preserving gender separation. However, there was a parade of witnesses in opposition to the bill. With the newly created genders that are defined, not by anatomy or birth certificate but by the state-of-mind, separation by gender was offensive to these parents and children. Their testimony was that if their daughter believed herself to be a boy or their son a girl, they should be allowed to use the shower, locker room, or restroom that aligned with their thinking rather than their biological or birth certificate gender. The theory seems to be that a person’s thinking rather than physiology should reign even if their thinking seems contrary to natural law, physical examination, biology, or DNA.
Struggles like those confessed in the public hearing are not new, but they are more prominently displayed than ever before. These children, should they continue on their present course, will never be parents themselves, but I can empathize with their parents who love their children dearly and struggle with them through these conflicts. One thing that seemed inconsistent in the arguments against the bill was the claim that by being directed to separate facilities unwanted attention would be attracted to the children. This concern was somewhat weakened by the parents putting the same children on the witness stand in front of a Senate Committee and multiple TV cameras to support their claim.
Senate Bill 98 is not complicated; it retains the historic practice of each gender bathing and dressing in private. It instructs schools, under certain circumstances, to accommodate each new “gender identity” that may be created with the same protections. In my opinion, student privacy and safety should be as important to our schools as to parents. Senate Bill 98 ensures that whether we are talking about the ninety-nine percent of the students who align with the current rules or the one percent who do not, every student’s privacy is important and should be protected.
Two fundamental concerns have brought this to the level of legislation, and the actions of courts and the federal government have made it imperative. The first concern is the creation of new genders do not exist anatomically. The second concern is the one percent who claims these new genders are demanding that the other ninety-nine percent agree with them. Senate Bill 98 does not show a preference for either opinion nor does it exercise any moral judgment. It merely preserves the commitment to student privacy and security by insisting that no gender be forced to use showers, dressing rooms, or bathrooms in community with another gender.