Fact-Checking Obama’s Claim That He Didn’t Make Transgender Bathrooms an Issue
President Obama has pushed his transgender bathroom policies hard — behind closed doors and away from the electorate who disagrees with him.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court narrowly allowed a rural Virginia school district to maintain its policy of separating teenage boys and girls in its showers and locker rooms — at least until the full court decides whether to hear the case. The stay order makes clear the court is one justice away from declaring the right to privacy in intimate facilities unconstitutional.
Even liberal Democrats are asking how we got to the point that believing in biological distinctions has gone from common sense to irrational animus. At a June 2 town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, one man questioned President Obama’s priorities in speeding the process along.
“Mr. President, I am a strong believer in equal rights for everyone,” said Arvis Dawson, an African-American who served as executive assistant to Elkhart’s former Democratic Mayor Dick Moore. “I was wondering, though, with all the pressing issues you have before you right now, why is the issue of which bathroom a person uses such an issue?”
Sensing an unexpected vulnerability, Obama rebuffed the premise of the question. “Somehow people think I made it an issue,” Obama said. “I didn’t make it an issue.”
In an all-too-familiar pattern, Barack Obama says one thing while his record says the opposite. His administration has made laying the legal and regulatory framework for the transgender political agenda a top priority from his earliest days in office.
In a 2001 interview with Chicago public radio, he looked forward to a president unleashing “an activist Attorney General’s office and Justice Department.” And as president, he has made his vision a reality.
In November 2009, he dispatched current Labor Secretary Tom Perez to testify before Congress in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would make transgender restroom use a matter of federal civil rights law. The law did not pass, and the president soon lost his interest in legislative means, preferring to enforce his agenda by executive fiat.
The following July, HUD announced it would interpret the Fair Housing Act as though its prohibition of “sexual discrimination” encompassed gender identity. The agency later redefined the term “family” to apply the same standard to Section 8 housing vouchers.
In 2011, Obama held the first ever White House conference on transgender issues. Invited guests included the National Center for Transgender Equality, which advocates for unisex restroom use beginning in elementary school.
Unwilling to confine his restroom rampage to one branch of government, the president waged lawfare against schools that dared resist.
In 2012, the Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights took legal means to force the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith to allow a 38-year-old man to use the women’s restrooms.
A year later, the Obama administration sued California’s Arcadia United School District when a teenage girl complained that she was not allowed to spend the night in the boys’ hotel room during a field trip. That school, too, bowed before the federal leviathan.
People of faith should not forget that the president would have been able to force the same skewed standards on religious schools, had the Supreme Court not unanimously ruled against the EEOC’s attempt to strip them of the ministerial exception in the 2012 Hosanna v. Tabor case.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration broadened its scope to businesses, issuing federal guidelines telling employers “it is essential” that transgender people use the restroom of their preferred gender, and that they should not be “asked to provide any medical or legal documentation of their gender identity.” He adopted the same policy for White House lavatories.
All of these landmarks took place before the Obama administration issued its controversial federal guidance saying that schools and colleges must obliterate sex-segregated intimate facilities, including college dorm rooms, or risk losing federal funding — before Attorney General Loretta Lynch likened the immemorial protection of privacy to Jim Crow and before Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that furnishing taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery to transgender soldiers is “embedded” in the American creed.
This is nothing if not an energetic record of accomplishment on behalf of an agenda opposed by two-thirds of Americans, including 55 percent of Millennials.
Once again, Barack Obama looks Americans of both parties in the eye and lies about a record he extols behind closed doors.
But there is a sense in which Obama’s words are true: He didn’t make transgender issues a public issue. He has done all he can to keep his water closet warfare restricted to administrative tribunals, friendly courtrooms, and academic seminars — anywhere that is removed from the public square, out of the headlines, and beyond the scrutiny of the people most affected by his reality-denying policies.
Now, he is one black-robed dictator away from imposing his worldview on an unwilling public, eviscerating democracy in the process.