Supreme Court will decide on transgender rights in Virginia school case - LA TimesThe Supreme Court agreed [October 27, 2016] to tackle transgender rights for the first time, taking a case that will determine whether schools nationwide may force students to use restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.
The case, stemming from a Virginia dispute involving a transgender boy, will be heard early next year, either by the current eight-member court or with a new ninth justice chosen at the behest of the winner of the presidential election.
The justices will hear an appeal from the Gloucester County School Board, which had adopted a rule requiring students to use the restrooms that correspond to their “biological genders.”
The decision should be handed down sometime in the Spring of 2017; it is not impossible that a 9th SCOTUS Justice as yet to be identified could have joined the Court and participated. That is very unlikely, however.
As it stands, the 8 member court is: Chief Justice Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Ginsberg, Sotomayer, Kagan and Alito.
A few thoughts: First, I hate that the culture war over trans people's rights is being fought among our children. I wish that could have been avoided; those made anxious by human sexuality issues are likely to lash out at innocent kids, and this is despicable.
Second, the issue is not exactly like the same sex marriage question. This is not philosophical; transgenderism is a scientific, medical fact. The science is still in its infancy, but we are able to observe some physical effects when a person has the "syndrome", by examining their DNA at very fundamental levels.
It is vital, IMO, that the Court get this right on the science. Lawyers and religious leaders resisted other science facts as they came along; everything from the rotation of the earth to the existence of bacteria was once rejected by nonscientists. Transgenderism is a aspect of human sexuality that is almost painfully poised to create anxiety and resistance to learning in most Americans -- including SCOTUS Justices -- because the idea that gender is not fixed at birth (at least, not by observing the baby with the naked eye) is so damaging to the average person's ego and view of herself as a person.
What does it really mean to be female, if anyone who "chooses" can also be female? Etc.
The Court could render a very narrow decision, interpreting Title IX to either find support for the Obama Admin's edict that schools must not discriminate against trans students as to bathrooms and other facilities, or not find such support. But Scotus rarely takes cert just to decide narrow issues and avoid the real, underlying question of law.
Answering such questions is the SCOTUS's function, after all.
It is almost certain the decision will favor trans rights in some way; the liberals who blessed gay marriage are all still there, and Scalia was the greatest force in opposition.
(RIP, you crappy Justice.)
But if the Court decides that "people are free to choose to present as any gender they like" rather than "some science still needs to be done, but transgenderism is an established medical fact", this will almost do more harm than good.
There might well be people who are posing as transgendered people; humans are endlessly inventive and attention-seeking. But that changes no science.
Some people -- a small minority -- are born with brains that are "gendered" differently than their other body parts. It is one of several types of gender ambiguity "syndromes" that naturally occur in a few babies out of a thousand, or a hundred thousand.
Humans are not perfect, even at birth. Transgenderism is akin to being born with a cleft palate; when that baby is old enough, the defect is repairable by surgery and should not blight the person's life...I hope to God we can get to where we need to be, legally.
Hang on to your hats, folks, The next wave in the culture wars is coming.