Bad rules, partisan hacks, and transphobia

The US Department of Education, under the direction of partisan hack Betsy DeVos, has issued a decree (not presently available via official channels) that contradicts, not just its own previous regulations, but statutory law as well. Not only, under this decree, is discrimination against trans people somehow permissible under Title IX, but the Department will now mandate discrimination and threaten the federal funding of those who dissent.

While courts have long held that civil rights protections on the basis of sex include protections for transgender people (see, e.g., Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins), the Department here ignores that in favour of transphobia. In response to an ongoing lawsuit trying to convince the courts that bigotry is perfectly acceptable, the Department has chosen to try to bring the worst conclusion possible.

It’s worth noting who was taking advantage of the partisan hackery. The lawsuit was brought by the recognised hate group Alliance Defending Freedom — a rather Orwellian name — and its lawyer Roger Brooks, who has refused to comply with judicial orders to appropriately gender students. The ADF is a Christian extremist theocratic organisation. They claim, despite all scientific evidence, that transgender student athletes have some sort of unfair advantage over cis competitors. This is, of course, plainly false; even the cis students being used as their test case sometimes do better and sometimes do worse than their trans peers.

Athletic associations and civil rights groups have, of course, widely condemned this despicable action, although legal action against it has not yet commenced. The Department has declined to comment.

Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228; 109 S.Ct. 1775; 104 L.Ed.2d 268 (1989)

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