April 19, 2016
A troubling wave of policy proposals and legislation is sweeping across America regarding access to rest rooms and locker rooms, especially in publicly funded schools. At the far edge of the argument, more militant supporters of LGBTQ “rights” are insisting on the provision of unfettered use of bathrooms, locker rooms etc. The access in question would not be based upon any actual biologically identifiable factors but upon the student’s inner identity as to gender. Hence, a physically mature boy of fifteen who feels as if he is really a girl must be allowed to use the same facilities as the girls in his school. The same would be true of a young woman whose outward biological identity is incongruent with their inner view of their gender.
This entire preposition goes way beyond bizarre. While concern for the well-being of trans-gender students is to be commended, the suggested remedies would be amusing if they were not clearly foolish. Instead of simply providing alternative facilities for the student with gender identity issues, thereby securing the dignity and privacy of all students, these proposals actually invite more not less tension between the groups. Beyond that, allow me to suggest that most of the male legislators across the nation, now in their forties, fifties and sixties, might have been very pleased to visit the girl’s locker rooms when they were in high school. Somehow I think most of them would have failed a lie detector test if they had to swear they actually identified as girls! Anyway …once again we sense that God is allowing a measure of moral blindness to set in among those who do not respect His basic laws of propriety and decency.
Below is a letter that I wrote to Ms. Kim Kovalchick at the Michigan Department of Education. I hope that others will write to their local and state officials in the same manner. Do be careful to be respectful and appreciative of the challenges inherent in the management of such an issue. But it is certainly true that very often these kinds of proposals rise or fall based on public response!
Blessings! Pastor Alberta
April 14, 2016
Ms. Kim Kovalchick, Supervisor Michigan Department of Education Coordinated School Health and Safety Programs unit P.O. Box 30008 Lansing, MI 48909
Cc: The Honorable Richard Snyder, Governor, State of Michigan
Cc: The Honorable Lana Theis, District 42 State Representative, State of Michigan
Re: State Board of Education Statement and Guidance on
Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,
and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students
Dear Ms. Kovalchick,
Allow me to respectfully address my comments to those officials who have drafted and/or currently support the proposal referenced above. In my view, your contemplated policy reflects a thoughtful zeal for the feelings and experiences of students in the LGBTQ community. My sense is that your goal is to minimize any discomfort for a young person who identifies himself/herself in a manner contradictory to their biological make up. Such discomfort might arise if that young person is required to use facilities (rest rooms, locker rooms) with other students of the same outward biological identification but who do not share their contrary orientation. Hence, it is of the greatest importance, in your view, that the trans-gendered student never be made to feel conspicuous, uncomfortable, or compromised in any manner.
I am eager to ascribe the highest motives to your proposal. However, it is remarkable to me that you manifest a troubling indifference to the student, male or female, whose gender identification is consistent with their biological traits. That student, according to your policy proposal, has no right to redress for their own discomfort or loss of privacy. Your proposal simply marginalizes the rights of the non-LGBTQ student.
As a father, a grandfather and a Presbyterian minister who has worked with thousands of people and families, I am stunned. Allow me to suggest that your proposal might be compelling if you were seeking a totally separated third option both in regard to restrooms and locker rooms. But the student not struggling with gender identity issues and who is comfortable with their biological identity should not be required to accept such an imbalanced and inconsiderate policy manifesting total indifference to their preferences.
I believe that your policy, if enacted, may result in some cases of increased harassment of LGBTQ students. My suggestion is simply this: if the goal is to protect the rights and dignity of LGBTQ students then enable them to use a designated facility consistent with their preferences. That would seem the simplest and most easily managed solution.
In short, I would ask the drafters of this proposal to explain why they do not demonstrate the same zeal, concern, compassion and respect for all students? If my seventeen year old granddaughter is embarrassed and deprived of her privacy in the cheerleader’s locker-room, why is that not a concern to you? What if she is uncomfortable being looked at or looking herself at fellow students of the opposite biological gender?
Incidentally, but not without importance, allow me to point out that as a professionally trained counsellor I have already encountered more than one student who changed their identity from one gender to another and then back again. This entire issue begs for much greater reflection and analysis.
Your attempts to preclude the abuse of students whose identifications fall outside of the norm are good and decent. But your solution strikes me as brutally condescending to those who have every right to expect protection for their own privacy and personal dignity. If enacted, this approach may cause more problems than it solves especially among students who will resent it and further lose respect for those who are paid to educate them in a sensible environment.
I appreciate the complexities of your task and commend your initiatives. However, I respectfully ask that my concerns be addressed. I am available for interaction at your convenience. Thank you for considering my views.
Dr. Richard J. Alberta
Cornerstone Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Brighton, Michigan 48114