Kentucky bill proposes 'cisgender' rights in school bathroom debate

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

(CBNNews.com/screen capture (http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2013/October/No-Recourse-for-Girls-Harassed-by-Transgender-Student/))The push for transsexual rights in schools also is trumping privacy rights of the rest of the student body at a high school in Colorado, where a male student who claims to be a transgender has been harassing girls in the bathroom. When parents complained, Florence High School officials said the boy's rights as a transgender trumped their daughters' privacy rights. Officials even threatened to kick the girls off athletic teams and charge hate crimes against anyone who continued to voice concerns.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Christian Examiner) – The fight for transgender bathroom rights has moved into public schools and one Kentucky lawmaker is proposing an emergency bill to ensure the rights of cisgender students (those who are not gender confused) are also protected.

Kentucky Senator C.B. Embry, a Republican, is the author of SB76 which is being called the Kentucky Student Privacy Act. According to the bill, students are permitted to sue for psychological and emotional harm in state courts if their "right not to be compelled to undress or be unclothed in the presence of members of the opposite biological sex" is challenged.

The bill defines "biological sex" as the "physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person's chromosomes, and is identified at birth by a person's anatomy."

A student has up to four years to file a law suit and could win damages and $2500 from the school for each violation. The school also would be responsible for "reasonable attorney fees and costs associated with the claim," SB76 states.

According to US News, Embry was asked to write the bill by the Family Foundation of Kentucky after Louisville's Atherton High School reportedly voted 8 to 1 in favor of a policy that allowed students to use school restrooms and locker rooms according to their preferred, not biological, gender identity.

"We appreciated the sensitivity of the administration, but they didn't come up with the best solution for everyone involved," Kent Ostrander, executive director of the Family Foundation of Kentucky told local news station WKYT .

The station also reported that the proposed Kentucky law has received much attention, vast criticism and little support to date.

Still, some argue that, in the big picture, policies promoting transgender roles offer more harm than good because a conflicting gender identity is more accurately labeled a disorder than a civil rights cause.

Psychiatrist Paul R. McHugh, the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University who served as Psychiatrist-in-Chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1975–2001, expressed his medical opinion on the matter in a Wall Street Journal editorial last June.

McHugh said policies like the one at Atherton High, "are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention."

He added that the debate is complicated by the fact a transsexual's feeling of gender is "in one's mind."

McHugh points to peer-reviewed science, however, to make the point—many times—these feelings about gender confusion simply go away.

"When children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London's Portman Clinic, 70 percent - 80 percent of them spontaneously lost those feelings," he said. "Some 25 percent did have persisting feelings; what differentiates those individuals remains to be discerned."

Support for the Kentucky Student Privacy Act is still uncertain, Embry told The Courier-Journal, calling the draft "the starting point of the discussion."

Should the bill gain the necessary backing, its "emergency" classification sets it to take effect upon passage by the legislature and approval by the governor.