By Jonathon Van Maren
Earlier this year, I interviewed Sohrab Ahmari, a writer over at Commentary magazine, on the story of Alexis Lightcap. Alexis is a 2018 graduate of the Boyertown Area High School in Pennsylvania, and she and several other students have recently asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their student privacy lawsuit after fighting their school on their transgender bathroom policy. The students are being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, America’s most distinguished defender of religious freedom.
Alexis penned an editorial for USA Today last week explaining her decision to take her school to court:
Few students ever dream that they’ll sue their high school. But that is exactly what several of my peers and I had to do.
Our school is Boyertown Area High School in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, and my reason for suing was to restore the bodily privacy we used to enjoy in locker rooms and restrooms on campus. Now, we have asked the Supreme Court to review our case.
I’m OK with the school district’s desire to hear voices other than mine on this issue. But I have a voice, too — and Boyertown officials have little interest in my perspective. They didn’t even bother to tell me or the other students that they changed school policy to allow students to choose their locker rooms and restrooms based not on their sex, but on their beliefs about their gender.
The moment I walked into our girls’ restroom and found a boy standing there, I turned and fled — the school’s surveillance video caught me running out. I tried to get the attention of administrators to explain to them how uncomfortable — how scared — I felt sharing the girls’ restroom with a boy. They wouldn’t listen. The principal simply wrote down my concerns on a Post-it note and said he’d contact me soon. He never did. Students deserve security, parents deserve knowledge
My parents were no less shocked by this new policy. Boyertown officials kept it a secret from them, too. The administrators never sent home a memo saying that, from now on, our school locker rooms would be open to students based on what sex students believed themselves to be.
Instead, our parents first learned of the policy when I found the boy in the girls’ restroom, and when others, like my classmates identified in the suit as Joel Doe and Jack Jones, were changing clothes in the boys’ locker room and looked up to find a girl changing clothes beside them.
Hollywood movies and TV shows try to make that kind of moment seem funny. But in real life, it’s embarrassing and unnerving. Locker rooms and restrooms are supposed to be a refuge for students, and adults, too, for that matter. As a woman, I go through those doors looking for privacy — not to find a guy looking back at me as I’m changing my clothes.
As a former foster child who bounced around through the system, I know what it’s like to be seeking an identity and trying to come to terms with who you are. As a black girl who grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, I know what it’s like to be treated unfairly, picked on, and made fun of by insensitive people. I won’t accept anyone being bullied or discriminated against — and that absolutely includes my classmates experiencing gender dysphoria. They deserve our love and support. Even so, my privacy shouldn’t depend on what others believe about their own gender.
Why is it so hard for school officials to understand that young girls care about the privacy of their bodies? It’s natural for us and our parents to worry about who might walk in on us in a vulnerable moment. The school bureaucracy has no right to say my privacy is irrelevant.
I had once lost my voice in the foster care system. And I was once again losing it in my own school: School officials withheld information from me and my parents, then silenced me by ignoring my concerns. Fortunately, my parents also taught me to speak up for myself, and I found my voice through this lawsuit.
I recently graduated from Boyertown Area High School, so I’m not taking this stand just for myself. I’m speaking for my friends and my little sister, all of whom are having their privacy interests ignored by their own school — a school that should be protecting everyone’s privacy. That’s not fair to them. And whether school administrators intend it or not, their secrecy and silence create the distinct impression that they aren’t really interested in fairness at all.
Schools can and should be compassionate in supporting students who experience gender dysphoria. So should other students. But a truly fair and genuinely compassionate policy doesn’t have to be kept secret from students and parents. And an effective policy would be one that secures the privacy of every student — which is nothing more than what every parent and student has a right to expect.
Trans activists like to pretend that what they are demanding is eminently reasonable. They insist that nobody gets hurt by affirming the so-called “right” of a trans person with a penis to enter the girl’s bathroom—and they attempt to silence those girls who speak up to say that their safe spaces are being eliminated.
This is why the radical feminists and the trans activists have been increasingly facing off: Because if the trans activists get their way, they will eliminate all-female spaces by redefining “female” out of existence. Thus, women will be forced to wax male genitals if those males claim it is a “girl penis.” Rape victims will be forced to tolerate men in crisis shelters. And high school girls will have to accept males in their bathrooms.
The rights of women, it turns out, mean nothing to trans activists. They deny that there is any objective and biological definition of what it means to be a woman in the first place. In short, they have defined women out of existence.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.