The Obama administration has received high amounts of backlash from republican- and democratic-led states after the release of the transgender bathroom directive issued May 13.
Eleven states are suing the Obama administration with the impression that the administration is overstepping its authority to enforce the law by trying to rewrite it, according to NBC News.
“The plaintiffs, the suit states, ‘stand behind the singular principle that the solemn duty of the Federal Executive is to enforce the law of the land, and not rewrite it by administrative fiat,’” according to NBC News.
This debate on the rights of transgender people is just another example of a nation in late adolescence trying to find its way through a world of shifting values into national adulthood.
America needs to remember her Founding Fathers’ counsel that all men have a right to freedom, and that means freedom to set our own values and stick to them.
The transgender bathroom debate isn’t the underlying issue. The real debate is how we can find balance as we stick to the value of equality.
A look back into the very recent past will show us we’ve been down this road before.
“In late January 2015, (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) held a news conference in which it called for respectful dialogue and an effort to end the divisiveness that has so characterized the debate over the issue (of LGBT rights) in recent years,” according to Mormon Newsroom. “Specifically, it called upon legislators in Utah and elsewhere to find common ground where reasonable rights could be afforded to all.”
The issue over gender-neutral bathrooms in public schools is no different. The goal should be finding common ground where reasonable rights can be afforded to everyone. We, as the Scroll editorial board, don’t presume to have the solution. We are suggesting we learn from our recent past and make good on those lessons learned.
With the case of LGBT rights and religious freedom, America has so far been able to find a middle ground. Those of the LGBT demographic have received the rights they desire while the rights of religious groups have been preserved, such as the Supreme Court ruling that allows gay marriage in all fifty states while religious organizations can reserve the right to only perform marriages they deem appropriate in their facilities.
More recently, Target released a statement which welcomes employees and customers to use restrooms or fitting rooms that correspond with their gender identity, according to the Target corporate website.
The major concern voiced in the public’s response to this statement was regarding privacy.
Parents have voiced their worries that children can more easily be preyed upon. Words like assault and rape have been thrown into the argument, thus fueling the flame.
By looking at our nation’s previous responses to similar issues, we can see our course of action.
At the heart of the argument are citizens’ rights versus their privacy. America has too easily succumbed to the fallacy of it being one or the other. Why not both?
LGBT rights and religious freedom seemed to be at odds, yet a middle ground was found. Today, we can supplant privacy in the place of religious freedom, and now we have a reasonable debate that quite possibly could create a solution.
America did well in her early adolescent years to foster equality through enacting civil rights laws, which, similarly, were spearheaded in the public education sector.
“In 1964, Congress passed Public Law 88-352,” according to the National Archives’ Civil Rights Web page. “The provisions of this civil rights act forbade discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race in hiring, promoting and firing.”
This law was set in motion when “separate but equal” laws regarding schools and other establishments were seen as wrong and led to serious discussion about the rights of citizens of our nation.
Today, America is in her late adolescence and moving toward national adulthood by tackling even more unfamiliar or foggy issues. America would do well to remember her lessons learned and make compromises that will help her move forward. Sometimes we forget, amidst our strong political beliefs, that our great nation was built upon compromise. Our Founding Fathers were wise, and these issues before us are helping our country gain that same wisdom.