Last Wednesday, Manhattan’s largest community education council (CEC), of which I am a member, passed a straightforward resolution asking New York City Public Schools to reconsider its 2019 Guidelines on Gender, given their impact on female athletes. The guidelines, adopted after New York State amended its Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act in 2019, replace biological sex with “gender identity” in the district’s athletics-participation rules, allowing female-identifying males to compete in female sports.

Resolution #248, passed by District 2’s CEC, calls upon NYCPS to “convene a committee” that would include “female athletes, parents, coaches, relevant medical professionals” to review the district’s policies. This benign proposal prompted several overwrought condemnations from New York City’s progressive ruling elite. The city council’s LGBTQIA+ caucus, for example, said that it was “enraged and appalled” by the CEC’s “disgraceful resolution.” State senator Brad Hoylman even demanded a “full review of the actions of this board by the NYS Division of Human Rights and the NYC Human Rights Commission” and threatened political payback, promising to “take the community education council’s anti-trans resolution into account when making his decision” in the upcoming mayoral-control vote.

All this because the CEC dared ask that female athletes have a seat at the policy table.

The global understanding of pediatric gender dysphoria has changed significantly in the five years since NYCPS introduced its guidelines. Several nations have conducted macro reviews of available evidence, and many—including England, whose near-ban on puberty blockers for children under 16 takes effect this April—have departed from the affirm-only model that underlines the NYCPS guidelines. The CEC resolution should prompt the district to ensure its gender guidance reflects the latest medical evidence.

The NYCPS policy is not only based on shoddy science but also exposes the district to potentially ruinous lawsuits. Female athletes are currently suing the NCAA, which allows athletes to participate in some sports according to their gender identity, for alleged Title IX violations. The plaintiffs claim that their goal is to “secure for future generations of women the promise of Title IX that is being denied them and other college women.” Similarly, Nassau County executive Bruce Blakeman is suing New York attorney general Letitia James for her efforts to stop his order, which enjoys strong public support, requiring county-run facilities to ban trans-identifying athletes from competing in women’s sports. Sports-related litigation will eventually be followed by medical-practice litigation, such as that against Kaiser Permanente for its gender-affirming hormonal and surgical treatments allegedly harming a minor. NYCPS can save taxpayers’ money by drafting new policies, avoiding costly lawsuits that likely would force the district to change its guidelines anyway.

Meantime, NYCPS athletes need to play sports. One thing that the resolution’s critics get right: all kids need to have access to sports, free from discrimination or bullying. Kids who say that they are trans certainly should be able to play sports—and they can. A boy who wants to present as female can do so off the pitch, court, or field; when suited up for a sport, however, he needs to play with his biological peers. This solution requires that male athletes tolerate those trans-identifying athletes—a far more reasonable request than that made currently of female athletes to undress in front of males and give up their roster spots and playing time to accommodate males who say that they are females. 

But accepting biological reality and making kid-friendly accommodations to support all students is not what the trans ideologues and their political allies really want. They want their ideology to win. A trans-identifying male teacher who spoke at the CEC meeting made it clear. The teacher introduced himself as “a white, queer, neurodivergent, non-binary, transwoman and teacher” and reeled off the numerous classes that he has taught, including biology. He spoke for well over his allotted two-minute time slot, and demanded that CEC District 2 president Len Silverman answer his question: “Am I a woman?” Silverman graciously responded, “You look like a woman to me,” but the teacher retorted, “Am I a biological woman?” The answer, of course, is no—and will always be no—but given the political pressures involved with saying so, Silverman demurred. 

Resolution 248 points out that the trans emperor has no clothes. Boys are not girls. Our district’s athletics policies ought to reflect this fundamental and inescapable fact.

Photo: FatCamera/E+ via Getty Images


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