An Adult Transgender Tennis Coach in PA Wants To Use the Same Locker Rooms and Bathrooms As Female Students. This Is a Problem for FCPS.
The coach is an adult biological male but identifies as a woman. The FCPS policy that allows the sharing of bathrooms, locker rooms/showers, overnight lodging, and changing areas by self-identified gender rather than biological sex is focused solely on students. In other words, there is no policy or plan for how to handle a transgender adult that wants to share these personal spaces with students. So now that the existing FCPS policy has opened the door to mixed locker rooms/showers, bathrooms, and overnight stays with their student policy, the board will have to close one of the many gaps in the policy they just concluded doesn’t need any changes.
Specifically, the board will have to update the existing transgender policy to prepare for the possibility that this employee*, or any FCPS staff member who identifies as the opposite sex, could decide to use any bathroom, locker room/shower, changing areas and lodging that matches their chosen sex.
Here are some possible ways FCPS may handle this, but each comes with problems.
Allow the adults to share facilities with students. This is a possibility since the underlying principle of the current FCPS policy is that a transgender male student is to be considered a girl in all situations (sports participation, bathroom, locker room/adult however use, overnight lodging, name). If the current policy for FCPS allows shared facility use between students and staff (or is silent on shared use), then in order to be consistent, the board would have to allow shared use for all students and staff that come to the school facilities every day irrespective of gender.
FCPS will also have to decide if they will notify parents if an adult FCPS staff member is using these facilities with students of the opposite biological sex.
Restrict adult use to single-use or staff-only bathrooms, locker rooms/showers, lodging, and changing areas. This should not be likely since the board has gone on record stating they do not want to “stigmatize” the transgender and gender non-conforming community by forcing them to use only specific facilities. The board’s position in defending the existing policy has been, in the name of tolerance and inclusion, that the larger student population will have to respect and accept the sharing of facilities. To require separate facilities for staff would be inconsistent with that rationale. Separate but equal treatment within a protected class is never good, especially when it restricts the equal access and treatment that justifies the existing policy and the board’s primary reason for not changing it.
Suppose the board wishes to take the position that there is a difference between adults and minors regarding how we treat the handling of transgender integration. In that case, that opens up a lot more questions about the board’s positions on existing positions and policies.
FCPS could do nothing. This is a possibility since the BOE has not addressed the multiple side effects from the impacts of its transgender policy. Instead, they have decided the policy needed no changes and have retreated to wait for the legal cases on similar topics to be finalized. If they do that here it would be consistent but risky.
*The article on the situation (article link here) mentions that the Gettysburg coach’s contract may not be renewed so that the coach will be looking for work. FCPS is right down the road.