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Title IX’s anti-parent secret agenda

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President Joe Biden’s proposed Title IX regulation punted on a direct confrontation over whether biological men must be permitted to participate in women’s sports. But by redefining “sex” to encompass “gender identity,” Biden’s Department of Education has threatened to compel school districts to treat students as whatever gender they like — without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

According to the
regulation
, the “requirement to permit students to participate [in education] consistent with their gender identity may require updating of policies.” Although the 701-page document does not spell out a full policy agenda, school district lawyers can and will infer the changes the Biden administration wants from the two examples it gives of policies that would not have to change. Those two policies, from California’s Department of Education and Nevada’s Washoe County School District, speak with one voice on what schools need to share with parents when a child expresses gender dysphoria: nothing. Except for extreme circumstances, it’s all up to the child.

Washoe’s
policy
says that transgender students have “the right to discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share their private information.” Staff must not “disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender or gender non-conforming status to others, including parents/guardians or other staff members,” unless the student specifically authorizes it. Similarly, California
insists
that with “rare exceptions, schools are required to respect the limitations that a student places on the disclosure of their transgender status, including not sharing that information with the student’s parents.”

Once a student asserts an alternative gender identity, the school must treat them in accordance with their wishes. Refer to them by preferred pronouns. Let them use whatever bathrooms or locker room they’d like — regardless of whether this makes their peers feel uncomfortable. This is a practice known as “social affirmation.” Social affirmation without parental notification or consent has already raised substantial controversy in school districts across America. In a recent American Enterprise Institute
report
, Luke Berg of the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty, which is suing two school districts that have such policies, pointed out the serious ethical problems in this approach.

Many professionals believe that transitioning and affirming a transition can become self-reinforcing and do long-term harm. Dr. Kenneth Zucker, for example, who for over three decades led one of the world’s top clinics for children with gender dysphoria, has written that “parents who support, implement, or encourage a gender social transition (and clinicians who recommend one) are implementing a psychosocial treatment that will increase the odds of long-term persistence.”

Even the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, an advocacy organization that supports an “affirming” approach, acknowledges that there isn’t sufficient evidence to “predict the long-term outcomes of completing a gender role transition during early childhood.” WPATH encourages health professionals to defer to parents. Yet, the Biden Department of Education would have teachers and principals keep parents in the dark about administering what essentially amounts to an experimental medical intervention. Daily “affirmation” by authority figures would surely encourage the persistence of gender dysphoria. And persistent gender dysphoria increases the chances that a child will seek medical treatment, such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. The full range of short- and long-term side effects from these drugs is not fully known. But they do carry the risk of permanent sexual dysfunction and sterilization.

The issue of how schools should address the rising tide of gender dysphoria in today’s school-age children has sharply divided the public on the Left and Right. But the question of parental notification and consent should not be divisive. Liberal or conservative, parents want to be involved every step of the way in every medical decision involving their children. And yet, the Biden administration has telegraphed to school districts across the country that they should default to cutting parents out of the loop on gender dysphoria.

Parents across the country should flood the Biden Department of Education with comments objecting to this unconscionable intrusion into their fundamental rights. And governors, state legislators, and state attorneys general should get ready for a showdown.

Max Eden is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. 

Washington Examiner

Political news and commentary about Congress, the president and the federal government from the Washington Examiner.

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