- - Thursday, February 23, 2017

A visitor from Mars or Pluto could reasonably conclude that Earth is a weird planet indeed. “It’s a heavenly body of great beauty,” he might report back to headquarters, “where everyone is trying to change his and her sex but is so squeamish about talking about sex that they must coin euphemisms, such as ‘gender identity,’ to describe it.”

Going to the bathroom, our extraterrestrial visitor might report, is the national sport, and any number can play.

Another remnant of the Obama administration fell Wednesday, when the new administration withdrew Mr. Obama’s dictum that schools must enable transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice, depending not on sex but “gender identity.” (The conversation, such as it is, is not actually about “bathrooms,” since such rooms rarely have bathing facilities, but about “restrooms,” which actually mean “toilets.) Squeamishness must be observed, along with the outrageous and the goofy.

The new policy, as outlined in a new Trump executive order, replaces an Obama order which was improperly and arbitrarily written “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school authorities in establishing educational policy.”

This is a refreshing idea, that states and local school authorities have a role — “a primary role” yet — in establishing educational policy. Who knew? And who would know better than the folks in Peoria how a free-for-all at the urinal would play in Peoria?



Mr. Trump’s new policy brought out the usual crowd of noisy dissenters, a crowd not as large as usual, but eager to bubble and squeak their displeasure, chanting “no hate, no fear, trans students are welcome here.” The chant speaks to the point that, insofar as “the great bathroom debate” is actually about who gets to pee, and where, it’s about nothing much. There just aren’t enough men and boys who want to pee with women and girls to create an actual problem.

According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, where such momentous subjects are studied, the percentage of those in the population trying to identify as someone of another sex falls considerably short of 1 percent. Nevertheless, the gay lobby, which now wants to be known as the LGBT and sometimes Q community — short for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans and sometimes queers), wants most of all to order everyone to celebrate LGBT (and sometimes Q) sexual persuasions, and do it with enthusiasm. The politician who doesn’t can expect mortal grief.

One politician who won’t play the game is Jeff Sessions, the new attorney general, who promises to protect everyone from discrimination, and includes protecting those who don’t want to join the free-for-all at the urinal. “Inclusion,” in the trendy new definition, means not including everybody. Mr. Sessions differs with Betsy DeVos, the new secretary of Education, who wants to leave the Obama restrictions in place. The decision had to be made in the Oval Office, where the buck stops, including the buck on his way to the lady’s room in his new spring frock. Mrs. DeVos, who has the only key to her restroom, argued that opening everybody else’s restrooms to all, regardless of sex, gender or whim of the moment, is a “moral obligation.”

Given the small number of students in transit to another sex, it’s unlikely that anyone in a school in Peoria — or Texarkana, or Pocatello or any of the several Portlands — will ever see someone in a dress at the urinal. But everyone can enjoy the debate.

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