Dem Suggests Locker Room ‘Barriers’ for Female Privacy
No irony is more delicious than when a progressive stumbles upon an old, discarded, but sensible idea and believes they have found something new. Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) provided the latest example of this when he suggested the University of Pennsylvania should have erected “barriers in the women’s area of the locker room” to provide privacy from Lia Thomas for the female members of their swim team.
“My teammates and I were forced to undress in the presence of Lia, a six-foot, four-[inch] tall biological male, fully intact with male genitalia, 18 times per week,” said former UPenn swimmer Paula Scanlan during Thursday testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
“When we tried to voice our concerns to the athletic department,” Scanlan continued, “we were told that Lia’s swimming and being in our locker room was a non-negotiable.” Of course it was! The UPenn swim program shot from middling to winning overnight. Everyone knew it was cheating. But the university also knew it was a form of cheating they could get away with because they could easily serve the NCAA a bowlful of lukewarm diversity gruel.
Scanlan added, “we were offered psychological services to attempt to re-educate us to become comfortable with the idea of undressing in front of a male.” The word she wisely avoided (to evade irrelevant attacks) is grooming. But her statement would mean the same thing if she had said, “they offered to groom us to undress in front of a male.”
Scanlan’s account of palpable injustice was moving — so moving that one of the committee Democrats tried to suggest a solution. “I think Penn didn’t deal with your situation like they could have,” Cohen told her. “They should have been putting up some type of different barriers in the women’s area of the locker room.”
Ah, yes, it’s time to pull out the thinking caps. Women object to sharing a locker room facility with males, so how can we give them extra privacy? Perhaps some sort of barrier would do. A shower curtain? No, see-through would defeat the whole purpose. How about a folding screen? No, the need will persist as long as human nature, so we had better make it a permanent barrier. Better call in the architects to advise on the best use of space here. Mr. Architect, we need a permanent, opaque barrier to divide a space; now, what would you call that?
Barrier is a two-syllable synonym for wall: this kitchen feels so cramped; let’s knock out the barrier separating it from the next room. The dormitory wing offered several bedroom spaces separated by barriers. Trump promised to build a barrier across the southern border. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this barrier.
In fact, a wall is typically all that separates the women’s locker room from the men’s locker room (to make plumbing more efficient). The thought process above is likely similar to that which led to the original creation of separate locker rooms for women, after Title IX mandated that women enjoy equal facilities and support for extracurricular athletics.
For decades, women and men have happily used separate and equal facilities with minimal fuss. But what Cohen proposed is to sub-divide the women’s locker room, so that part could be used by women, and part by men. In other words, male athletes who identify as transgender would effectively get their own locker room — an annex of the men’s locker room — inside the women’s locker room. In other words, three-quarters for the males, one-quarter for the females. Doesn’t that seem separate and equal? More to the point, doesn’t that seem offensive?
“By Representative Cohen admitting that we need barriers, acknowledges there are biological differences between men and women,” Scanlan said later in the hearing. “By acknowledging that we need to have private spaces that are separate from each other — why can’t we just use the locker rooms that we’ve always used, men’s and the women’s?” she proposed. “If you’re acknowledging that we need protection and privacy from these men, then you’re acknowledging that the locker rooms we’ve always used are the correct ones.”
There’s a good reason why men and women have different rest rooms and locker rooms, and it’s based on their biology. Behold, along comes the trans movement proclaiming that a person’s subjective feelings matter more than biological reality. Without a single critical thought, progressives swallowed that lie. To them, the only relevant fact about a private facility was the icon on the door. And so, we got period products installed in men’s restrooms, an uptick in sexual harassment and assaults, and female athletes forced to undress next to the biological males who are stealing their awards.
Now it seems, alas, that some less ideological progressives are realizing after the fact that there was a good reason for sex-specific locker rooms after all.
And so, instead of inventing hoverboards and flying cars, modern society is forced to recycle practicable old ideas out of the dustbin of history, into which they have been unceremoniously and inappropriately swept. You cannot add a story to a building by destroying the ground floor. Neither can America realize a “more perfect union” by renouncing the advancements of the past for a set of the emperor’s new clothes.
Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.