The Lincoln Journal Star recently published an article highlighting a transgender student at a Lincoln High School,“For Transgender Students, Acceptance Goes Beyond a Bathroom Stall.”

One thing this article articulates well is that bathrooms aren’t really what this battle is about. The battle is over “acceptance,” and the goal is to change the way that our society thinks about sexuality and gender. Unfortunately, sex-segregated bathrooms are one of the first casualties.

Bathrooms and locker rooms are vulnerable places in which all students should feel secure. Schools, and even many LGBTQA activists recognize that bodily privacy is very important. The Lincoln Journal Star stated:

Pat Tetreault, director of the LGBTQA Resource Center and assistant director of student involvement at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said locker room use goes beyond transgender students and is a matter of providing a minimum amount of privacy for all students.

Just like all students, transgender students are people of infinite value and worth, but no child should be forced into an intimate setting—like a restroom or locker room—with another child of the opposite sex.

We understand that this conversation is much bigger than bathrooms, but the reality is that the policies encouraged by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice for students with gender dysphoria have direct implications for others in restrooms and locker rooms.

>> The Unintended Victims of Open Bathroom and Locker Room Policies

Schools have been successfully accommodating individual students with unique needs while remaining neutral on a politically divisive issue. The science is far from settled on gender identity. A report published this year in the journal The New Atlantis discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies and painstakingly documents what scientific research shows and does not show regarding sexuality and gender.

The editor of the journal explains that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence,” including:

The belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.

Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

This is unquestionably a difficult issue, but we must take into consideration the legitimate concerns of parents and students on both sides.

One thing we can be certain about is that forcing students into vulnerable interactions with opposite-sex students in secluded restrooms and locker violates their basic right to bodily privacy. School districts must ensure that students entrusted to their care may use restrooms and locker rooms without exposure to the opposite sex.

Fifty-one families in Illinois and a group of parents and students in Minnesota have recently filed lawsuits against their school districts to protect student privacy.  Nebraska schools should continue to handle these matters as they arise by accommodating students with unique needs while also protecting other students’ privacy and free exercise rights.

Schools should be cautious not to advance politically motivated policies that endorse an ideology not supported by scientific evidence or common sense.

Nebraska Family Alliance
Nebraska Family Alliance exists to advance family, freedom and life by influencing policy, mobilizing prayer, and empowering people.