I took a train up to New York City the April after President Trump’s inauguration to cover a “Times Talk” discussion featuring Camille Paglia and Andy Cohen. Early in the event, Paglia said the moment she predicted Trump would win the 2016 election was when the Obama administration pushed transgender bathrooms. “There’s the election, right there,” she remembered thinking. That line stuck with me.
It was, Paglia added, the “worst moment to approach a radical new idea.” This was presumably a reference to a policy that came out of Obama’s Education Department in May 2016. With a simple “Dear Colleague” letter, the department made federal funding contingent on schools complying with a new interpretation of Title IX which recognized “on the basis of sex” to include “gender identity.”
Fast-forward to Thursday night, when Joe Biden rambled into an unsettling answer when asked about transgender discrimination during an ABC News town hall. I immediately thought back to Paglia’s statement. “The idea that an eight-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides, you know I decided, ‘I want to be transgender. That’s what I think I’d like to be. It would make my life a lot easier.’ There should be zero discrimination,” Biden insisted.
That appears to be the potential president of the United States endorsing the notion that an eight-year-old can decide her biological sex is inconsistent with her perceived gender identity, and must be treated as such legally and socially. Biden also supports the Equality Act which, in accordance with Paglia’s theory, is so radical that conservatives are literally running ads tying him and other Democrats to the legislation.
The “Dear Colleague” letter issued while Biden was veep had sweeping implications, and the administration knew it. (See this Snopes fact-check. Even Snopes had to rate the statement “Obama Decrees ALL Public Schools Must Allow Transgender Bathroom Use” to be “mostly true.”) Not only did the department legislate by letter, encroaching on congressional duties, it used that letter to implement a dramatic and radical change.
The move amounted both to bad policy and bad politics. Where the cultural left promotes radical policies and ideas on gender, their agenda goes way too far for voters outside coastal enclaves. And rightfully so, as Abigail Shrier documented extensively in “Irreversible Damage.” That agenda is untested and wreaking havoc among teens.
This policy will return immediately in a Biden administration. The former veep pledges to reinstate the directive “on his first day in office,” according to his campaign website. The implications for schools go beyond bathrooms, but will also surely impact curriculum and sports.
Prohibited discrimination, in line with the Title IX directive, would involve any treatment whatsoever of an eight-year-old that is inconsistent with his perceived gender identity. That is dangerous and confusing but also invites major messes into our schools, which had largely been in session under the previous guidance for only a few months until Obama’s lame-duck term set in.
Biden also pledges to put a “quick end” to the Title IX guidelines on campus sexual assault issued by Education Secretary Betsy Devos, which cleaned up the disastrous and widely panned guidelines issued by the Obama administration. If Biden were to replace Devos’s policy with the Obama-era policy, which he ardently supported, campuses would be thrust once more into chaos, and students would again be at risk of losing due process rights.
Devos’s Education Department supports school choice, and has rolled back a host of Obama-era policies Biden is almost certain to resurrect. Biden, for instance, opposes voucher programs.
Given the alarming trends Shrier and others have documented, which involve adults promoting and prescribing to teenagers drugs that cause irreversible changes, Biden’s ideological and policy positions on transgenderism would likely result in many harmful and highly consequential actions from his Education Department. Campus kangaroo courts would return, and more innocent students would be hurt by them.
It wouldn’t stop there. Given Biden’s personal embrace of far-left cultural notions regarding sex and gender, it’s fair to assume his Education Department would swiftly implement a sweeping and radical agenda across the board. The gravity of this issue is wildly out of proportion with the small amount of attention it’s receiving in the broader conversation about this election.