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Opinion Yes, we should protect transgender people but we’re going about it in a dangerous way

The first gender-neutral restroom in the Los Angeles school district is seen at Santee Education Complex high school in Los Angeles on April 18. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Allowing biological men to use women’s restrooms and changing rooms — what could possibly go wrong?


As a compassionate society, we believe that transgendered people should be protected from discrimination. We also believe that women and children should be protected from sexual exploitation and assault. Creating a new “right” for biological men to use women-only facilities is an open invitation to sex predators pretending to be transgender in order to get access to vitcims at their most vulnerable.

It is happening already even without an invitation. Take the case of Taylor Buehler, a man who was arrested in 2012 after entering a women's bathroom at Everett Community College in Washington state dressed in a bra and wig. He claimed that he was just there to use the facilities, but under police questioning, Buehler "admitted to officers that he was the suspect in an earlier voyeurism incident … [in which] he took a shower in the girls' locker room for sexual gratification."

Or take the case of Norwood Smith Burnes, a 51-year-old Rome, Ga., man who was arrested for undressing in front of children in a Walmart women's room. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution , Burnes was wearing a short skirt, high heels, red nail, polish, and green eye shadow and was found in "stages of undress . . . in the presence of several young children." After his arrest, the paper said, police discovered that he "had a long record of indecent exposure and was on probation for public indecency."

Under the new norm that the Obama administration wants to establish, all either man would have had to say to avoid arrest was that he “identified” as a woman and was exercising his civil right to use the facility corresponding to his preferred gender. Moreover, each of these alleged predators was caught because women complained that there was a man dressed as a woman in the women’s room. If the Obama administration had its way, the women might never have complained for fear they would be accused of being bigots or violating civil rights.

Don't believe it? Just look to our neighbor up north, where in 2012, the province of Ontario changed its Human Rights Code to bar discrimination against anyone because of "gender identity" or "gender expression" — giving anyone who claimed to be transgender the legal right to use women-only facilities. That allowed Christopher Hambrook to dress like a woman and sign into several Toronto area women's shelters, where he sexually assaulted women seeking refuge from domestic violence. Police later discovered that he had been convicted in Montreal of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl and a mentally challenged 27-year-old woman. He was not transgender; he was a sex predator pretending to be transgender. But nobody dared to question him, because to do so would have been a violation of his "human rights."

It used to be that authorities judged who belonged in which bathroom by an objective criteria: their anatomy. But in its recent "guidance " to public educational institutions, the Obama administration declared that "gender identity" is determined by "an individual's internal sense of gender." It's all about how you feel. And no one can question those feelings. Indeed, the Obama administration said, doing so is unlawful. The Justice and Education departments declared that in public educational institutions "there is no medical diagnosis or treatment requirement that students must meet as a prerequisite to being treated consistent with their gender identity" and that "requiring students to produce such identification documents . . . may violate Title IX."

Moreover, how you feel can change — because, we are told, "gender is fluid." According to CNN , "For some people . . . how one identifies can change every day or even every few hours." For sex predators, that is awfully convenient. If gender identities can change by the day or hour, then what is to stop pedophiles and voyeurs from simply saying that their gender is "fluid" — and they were feeling like a woman that day? And how are police supposed to discern who is actually transgender and who is pretending to be transgender?

Last year, after Washington state passed a law opening public bathrooms to transgender people, a man walked into the women's changing room at a Seattle public pool and began undressing while young girls were changing for swim practice. He wasn't even dressed like a woman. When staff asked the man to leave, he told them "the law has changed and I have a right to be here." The flummoxed staff did not even call police.

By all means, schools should be required to provide access to bathrooms and changing areas where transgender people can feel safe. And there is a simple solution. As one transgender young man put it in The Post this weekend, "Imagine a room with a toilet, a sink and a door with a lock. Suddenly everyone's problems go away." But that is not good enough for the Obama administration, which insists that biological males who identify as women have a fundamental right to access to women's facilities. That is a recipe for disaster.

Sex predators are devious; they will use any excuse to gain access to their victims. Government should not be opening the bathroom door for them. Yes, we should find ways to protect transgender people — but we must do so without endangering everyone else.

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Read more on this topic:

Elishe Wittes: One bathroom for all: Install gender-free, single-user restrooms

Jack Drescher: Five myths on being transgender