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Jeff Laszloffy, president of Montana Family Foundation

JEFF LASZLOFFY

Why do we support the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act?

Let’s begin with a true story. During the 2016-2017 school year, a male student at Boyertown Senior High in Pennsylvania was undressing in the boys’ locker room when he noticed a female undressing near him. He reported it to the vice principal, and was told the district had a new policy allowing transgender students to use the locker room of their choice. The vice principal went on to say the male student could either treat it as perfectly normal, or he could go home and be homeschooled. Fortunately, his parents saw another option and sued the school district. Additional students joined the lawsuit, and it appears this case may be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Is this an isolated example? Hardly. Incidents like this are happening all across the country. It began in Montana in 2014 when the Montana School Boards Association encouraged their members to adopt policies accommodating transgender students. This was followed in 2016 by a directive from the Obama administration. It said students must be allowed to use the restrooms, showers and locker rooms consistent with their “gender identity,” must be allowed to play on sports teams consistent with their “gender identity,” and if that team travels, must be housed in the same hotel room as other members of the team. A lawsuit challenging that directive went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court but was dismissed after President Trump rescinded the directive.

The key to all of this is the term “gender identity.” It’s based solely on how an individual sees themselves, and requires only a verbal declaration with no physical or anatomical changes whatsoever. There is even an identity known as “gender fluid” where an individual can identify as one gender on one day and a different gender on the next. All of this becomes extremely problematic for policy makers. What do you do with an anatomical boy who identifies as a girl and demands access to the girls’ locker room? What’s fair? Should hundreds of girls be forced to sacrifice their privacy and dignity to accommodate a single student ?

Enter the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act, a fair and equitable solution that protects the privacy, safety and dignity of every single student in Montana. In short, it says people must use public facilities consistent with the sex on their birth certificate. Boys use the boys’ facilities, girls use the girls’ facilities, and if a person is not comfortable using either of them then they may use a single-stall facility. If possible, good public policy does its best to accommodate as many people as possible, and this solution does just that.

Unfortunately, voters in Montana will be told the same myths foisted on voters in other states. It’s too expensive; businesses will leave the state; it will require the police to check birth certificates before anyone can enter a locker room. None of this has happened in any state where protections such as these have passed. Take North Carolina for example, where that state was rated No. 2 in the nation as the best place to do business by Forbes and Site Selection Magazines before a similar bill was passed, and retained that No. 2 ranking even after the bill was passed.

Like it or not, your school will deal with these issues in the very near future. We can either do nothing, and subject our students to the same humiliation experienced by students in other states, or we can pass I-183 and protect the privacy, safety and dignity of all of Montana’s students. For more information, or to help collect signatures, please go to lockerroomprivacy.com.

Jeff Laszloffy, of Laurel, is president and CEO for Montana Family Foundation.

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