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Biden Aides Discover a Small, Tiny, Hardly-Worth-Mentioning Second Batch of Classified Documents At Second Location | Main | Quick Hits
January 11, 2023

Courts Deal Gender Extremists Two Setbacks, Okaying Laws Requiring Students To Use Their Correct-Sex Bathrooms and Play on Their Correct-Sex Sports Teams

All it took to win was actually joining the fight.

Which is something the GOP just refuses to do most of the time.

Advocates for school policies based on gender identity faced two legal setbacks in a week, with federal appeals and trial courts rejecting ACLU challenges to sex-based restroom and sports competition policies in two states.

Days after the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Florida high school's requirement that students use the restroom for their sex, calling it an "immutable characteristic" under Title IX, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin upheld West Virginia's Save Women's Sports law.

"While some females may be able to outperform some males, it is generally accepted that, on average, males outperform females athletically because of inherent physical differences between the sexes," Goodwin wrote.

The transgender plaintiff acknowledged that "circulating testosterone in males creates a biological difference in athletic performance," the opinion said. Goodwin cannot conclude "the state's classification based on biological sex is not substantially related to its interest in providing equal athletic opportunities for females."

The 11th Circuit and Goodwin's rulings are a reversal of fortunes for the ACLU, which recently convinced the 2nd Circuit to uphold Connecticut's transgender sports policy and blocked Idaho's pioneering Fairness in Women's Sports Act in trial court in 2020.

The judge in the West Virginia case allowed simple common sense to prevail.

"[D]espite the politically charged nature of transgender acceptance in our culture today, this case is not one where the court needs to accept or approve B.P.J.'s existence as a transgender girl," the judge wrote. "Ultimately, B.P.J.'s issue here ... is with the state's definitions of 'girl' and 'boy,'" which Goodwin deemed "constitutionally permissible."


The preteen's unusual circumstances -- starting blockers rather than taking cross-sex hormones to limit the advantage of male puberty -- can't overcome the fact that "a person either has male sex chromosomes or female sex chromosomes," Goodwin wrote.

"I recognize that being transgender is natural and is not a choice," the judge said. "But one's sex is also natural, and it dictates physical characteristics that are relevant to athletics," regardless of whether "some females may be able to outperform some males." (The 2nd Circuit found such exceptions persuasive.)


Goodwin emphasized the contradiction between B.P.J.'s argument that low-testosterone boys are not "similarly situated" with average girls under Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause, and the student's argument that "availability of hormone therapies makes transgender girls similarly situated to cisgender girls ... at the moment they verbalize their transgender status."

B.P.J. has equal athletic opportunity under Title IX, just not in the opposite sex's sports, the judge wrote. "There is no serious debate that Title IX's endorsement of sex separation in sports refers to biological sex," and the court has no grounds to require the state to be "more inclusive and adopt a different policy."


George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf called the ruling a victory for objective eligibility criteria. "Would a 20-year-old be permitted to compete in the Senior Olympics" based on his feelings or beliefs, "even if he claims that many senior citizens can outperform some 20-year olds?" he wrote in a press release.

But meanwhile, at Harvard, they're offering a course on providing care to LGBTQ identifying... infants.


Med students who take the course "Caring for Patients with Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities, and Sex Development," can expect to gain experience with "patients [who] identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual," and according to the course description, "Clinical exposure and education will focus on serving gender and sexual minority people across the lifespan, from infants to older adults."

Course directors Alex Keuroghlian and Alberto Puig are both employed at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Keuroghlian is also an LGBT activist and a psychiatrist at the Harvard-affiliated Fenway Health Center. According to the College Fix, Keuroghlian has written dubious research that purports to show that transgender drugs and surgeries can help people's mental health. He has been an outspoken critic of government restrictions on so-called gender-affirming care.

Last week, Nate Hochman wrote a must-read article -- behind a paywall, but available if you
know where to look -- about why Kristi Noem and South Dakota conservatives are so corrupted by transgender politics: It's all about big money donations by a big corporation that dominates the politics in a small state.

It's the all-too-common story of a powerful progressive business interest pushing a deep-red state leftward.

South Dakota has been governed by bicameral Republican supermajorities since 1996. Democrats haven't carried a statewide race in more than a decade. In a 2018 Gallup survey, the Mount Rushmore State was ranked the third-most conservative in the country, with self-identified "conservative" residents outflanking self-identified liberals by some 31 points.

It is not a state where one would expect to find a major trade conference for transgender medical specialists.

But on January 13, the Sanford Research Center in Sioux Falls is scheduled to host just such an event. The "3rd Annual Midwest Gender Identity Summit," billed as an effort to "review the needs of transgender patients in healthcare," is evidence that a variety of factors have converged to make "cherry-red South Dakota the unlikely epicenter of a transgender uprising on the American Great Plains," as the Washington Post reported in 2020. The summit is co-hosted by Sanford Health, a Sioux Falls--based health-care conglomerate, and the Transformation Project, a local transgender advocacy group.

Both Sanford and the Transformation Project are representative of the larger forces that are working to bring the transgender movement to the deepest-red corners of the United States -- a coordinated, well-funded campaign for which South Dakota has become something of a trial run. That campaign's influence has reached the Republican-dominated state legislature, where dozens of anti-gender-ideology bills have failed over the past decade....

Sanford, which purports to be "the largest rural health system in the United States" -- it currently employs nearly seven times more South Dakotans than any other business in the state -- has played a pivotal role in orchestrating those conservative failures. In 2021, a National Review investigation detailed the medical giant's links to the failure of House Bill 1217, which would have banned males from competing in women's sports. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem had sparked conservative outrage by vetoing the bill earlier that year -- a move that dampened her status as a rising Republican star, even after she hastened to reintroduce an analogous bill at the outset of the next legislative session.

Numerous sources told NR that Sanford's affiliates had mobilized behind the scenes, including in Noem's office, to help kill the women's-sports bill. (In response to a request for comment for this piece, Noem's office noted that their contract with the Sanford lobbyist involved in that affair had been terminated.) The health-care group's business interests were heavily implicated in the bill: On the same day that Noem issued her controversial veto, the company announced a $50 million expansion of Sanford Sports Complex -- an athletic facility that stood to lose serious revenue if the NCAA pulled its games from the state in protest, as it had in similar situations in the past.

The women's-sports bill wasn't the only social-conservative legislation that Sanford had lobbied against -- and the sports complex wasn't its only business interest implicated in transgender debates. The health-care company sells puberty blockers and performs "gender-reassignment" surgery. Its lobbyists appeared at the state legislature to oppose legislative initiatives including conscience rights for medical practitioners who object to performing abortions and sex-change operations, and a ban on puberty blockers and sex-reassignment surgery for children under 16. Both proposals ultimately failed to pass. "The bill to prevent doctors from giving hormone-blocking drugs to kids -- when it failed, that was all Sanford," John Mills, a Republican lawmaker representing South Dakota's fourth house district, told NR. "You want to believe it's not about the profit, but you also witness the reality of what's happening on the ground and can't help but wonder."

At the time, concerns about Sanford's influence centered on Noem herself. The governor's close relationship to a company with a record of left-wing cultural activism raised new questions about her own missteps. But that relationship had broader implications, too. What was unfolding in South Dakota was the all-too-common story of a powerful progressive business interest that was pushing a deep-red state leftward -- even over the express wishes of its broadly conservative voter base.

While Noem eventually reversed her position on women's sports, gender ideology's influence in South Dakota remained. The governor's office was embroiled in yet another controversy in December when a Daily Signal report revealed that the Department of Health had entered into a $136,000 contract with the Transformation Project for a community-health-worker program. The Transformation Project maintains a specific focus on gender-confused youth, including organizing protests against the recent legislative effort to impose stricter rules governing children's access to sex-change surgeries and drugs. As Alpha News reported, the group, which did not respond to National Review's request for comment, also "holds an annual event where participants, including children, ritually 'burn' their 'old name or pronouns.'"

Soon after the report broke, Noem terminated the contract, claiming via her spokesman that it was signed without her "prior knowledge or approval." Days later, the South Dakota health secretary, Joan Adam, abruptly retired.

Even without taxpayer dollars, left-wing lobbying efforts in South Dakota often benefit from generous out-of-state funding....

Bills that have failed to make it out of the legislature include the expansion of conscience rights for medical practitioners (HB 1247); the prohibition on sex-change surgeries and drugs for children (HB 1057); a ban on changing one's sex on birth certificates (HB 1076); a bill requiring teachers to inform parents when students express feelings of gender dysphoria (SB 88); mandated reporting of the number of human embryos destroyed in medical facilities (HB 1248); a requirement that students use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex (HB 1005); and the establishment of the "fundamental" parental right "to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education and care of a child" (HB 1246). As of February 2021, there had also been seven failed attempts "by South Dakota lawmakers to prevent transgender athletes from competing," the ACLU said in a press release at the time.

Despite the overwhelmingly Republican composition of South Dakota politics, gender ideology has made inroads in almost every area of the state's governing institutions. Last month, for example, SDSU drew conservative criticism for hosting a "kid-friendly" drag show, an event that multiple local lawmakers argued could be illegal under the state's prohibition on "show[s] or other presentation[s]" deemed "harmful to minors." Elsewhere, the Noem-appointed head of the state's Department of Corrections signed a new "Management of Gender Dysphoria" policy specifying that state-prison inmates could request transfers to facilities that corresponded with their "gender identity" rather than sex -- and be provided with sex-change drugs on the taxpayer dime.

But no set of institutions in South Dakota has embraced gender ideology more than the state's Sanford-dominated business community, which sits well to the left of the state's political center of gravity. (In November 2020, Sanford replaced its CEO of 24 years after he informed employees that he wouldn't be wearing a mask around the office, arguing that he had recently recovered from the Covid virus and therefore posed no threat of spreading it.) The state's Chamber of Commerce chapters, which are closely tied to Sanford, regularly lobby against social-conservative bills, including medical conscience rights, the prohibitions on sex changes for minors, birth-certificate gender changes, transgender locker room use, and bans on men in women's sports.

On cultural issues such as transgenderism, that influence leaves a marked effect. "We see [Sanford] attack good social conservative ideas all the time," Norman Woods, the director of the local advocacy group Family Heritage Alliance, told National Review. Social conservatives run into opposition from big business "across the nation," Woods said. "In Arkansas, their biggest opponent is Walmart. Walmart kills the social-conservative stuff. In other states, you know, it's something else. So within our movement, we have a joke that every state has their Walmart. And for South Dakota, it's Sanford."

Read the whole thing.

I am so tired of "Chamber of Commerce 'Conservatism'" as espoused by National Review, Mitch McConnell, and Dan Crenshaw.

Note that this article appears in National Review. But Nate Hochman is on the populist side of the conservative movement. That's why Jonah Goldberg and Steve Hayes' The Dispatch attempted to cancel him this past fall.

digg this
posted by Ace at 05:20 PM

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