By Clarence V. McKee
In the short span of four months, transgenderism has gone from occasional media coverage of transgender celebrities — Caitlyn Jenner and actor Laverne Cox of the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black — to being the civil rights issue of the day.
The Obama Ad-ministration’s “transgender” express, which has been on a fast track steamrolling the nation’s public schools to allow students to use bathroom and locker room facilities according to their gender identity, has been derailed by a lawsuit by 11 states.
What started in February as a local issue in Charlotte, N.C., which passed a law allowing transgender people to choose public bathrooms based on their gender identity, has blossomed into a national debate.
In March, the governor of North Carolina signed a law stopping local governments from enacting laws that allow transgender people to use public bathrooms based on their self-proclaimed gender identities, and, mandating that school students use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificates.
That gave the Obama Administration an invitation it could not resist in an election year: patronize and placate a favored political constituency — the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender (LGBT) community. It believes that federal law protects LGBT people from discrimination in employment and public education.
Acting with uncharacteristic urgency for the federal government, it pounced on the state.
In a May 9th press conference, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced filing a federal civil rights complaint against the state which could mean the loss of millions of dollars of federal assistance to the University of North Carolina placing thousands of employees, students, vendors and other beneficiaries in jeopardy — no doubt including many LGBT community beneficiaries.
If that were not enough, within days the Administration sent a “Dear Colleague” directive to every public school district in the nation to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity. Unless a student’s gender identity is “treated the same as that student’s sex,” schools could lose federal funds pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs that receive federal assistance.
Given the “warp speed” federal response, one would think that North Carolina was in danger of being overcome by the Ebola or Zika virus, consumed by a wildfire like that which ravaged Canada, category five hurricanes or some other major natural dis-aster.
This sure appears to be a case of a federal solution looking for a problem. It is also an unnecessary social experiment with the nation’s most vulnerable — its children.
According to the Charlotte Observer, there are an estimated 38,000 transgender North Carolinians. It cites the UCLA-based Williams Institute estimate that “transgender people make up 0.3 percent of the U.S. population, about 700,000 people” which translates to around 2,400 in Charlotte.
There is no doubt that transgender people have feelings, emotions, and rights as individuals and have legitimate issues on many levels.
The question is whether this issue demands such a massive federal executive intrusion based on questionable legal authority.
Has there been a history of state sanctioned denial of voting rights; access to public accommodations; equal employment and educational opportunities enforced by lynchings, burnings, beatings, targeting than 0.3 percent?
Such was the historic experience of Black Americans for whose primary benefit the civil rights laws were enacted? This is just another example of one more interest group benefiting from the sacrifices of Blacks which brought about the very civil rights laws and protections from which they seek to benefit.
Why did the Obama administration waste no time in moving against North Carolina? Obviously to send a message of solidarity with the LGBT community. As Mary Keiling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality has said: “The gay rights movement everybody thinks was the fastest-moving civil rights movement in history … But the trans movement has been lightning fast.”
Contrast the administration’s “rapid response team” action in North Carolina in support of the “trans” community to its “see no evil” response to the slaughter of Black youths in the killing fields of the president’s home town of Chicago.
According to the Chicago Tribune, there were 1,288 shooting victims between Jan. 1 and May 25 of this year. For all of 2015, there were 2,988.
Young Blacks would be safer in Iraq or Afghanistan than in the President’s home town but that has not rated an Attorney General press conference.
Blacks, who once were on top of the civil rights “protected” group chain, have been replaced by the priorities of other Democrat constituencies including illegal immigrants, gay rights proponents, and now the transgender community.
Speaking of federal action against those like North Carolina whom the feds accuse of thumbing their noses at federal law, what about sanctuary cities such as San Francisco that defy federal law? They get a free pass!
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns and has appeared on many national and local media outlets. He is a former co-owner of WTVT-TV in Tampa and former president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters.