This week the Department of Education has hosted a week-long hearing that included the topic of redefining “sex” in Title IX to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in national education policies.

What does this mean? We’re glad you asked! Click to watch the newest Ask Meridian video to find out more!

We want to say a big “Thank you!” to 10,000 of you who have engaged on this important issue! If you haven’t submitted a comment, TODAY is the LAST DAY to tell the Department of Education you STRONGLY OPPOSE ANY CHANGES in their education policies that redefine “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” This is a dangerous agenda, and it must be stopped. Comments must be submitted before 5:00 pm ET Today.

Click here to submit your comment NOW! We’ve provided some comments for you to use, but the more personalized you can make your comments, the better!

Family Policy Alliance testified against revising the definitions of “sex” in Title IX during this week’s public hearing at the Department of Education this week and stated,

“Every girl should have the chance to compete on a level playing field. In today’s world, that means one that is reserved just for girls. Males naturally possess physical advantages over females. This natural advantage can result in them winning titles, scholarships, and other opportunities that should be reserved for girls.”The Department of Education has a responsibility to protect women and girls, not steal their dreams.”

“…Title IX itself explicitly allows educational institutions to maintain ‘separate living facilities for the different sexes,’ indicating binary, biological sex. Of course, this makes sense in the context of private spaces like locker rooms and showers.”

“No student should be forced into an intimate setting like a restroom or locker room with someone of the opposite sex. The Department of Education should not get to determine the first time a student is exposed to a member of the opposite sex while in a state of undress.”

You can read our full testimony here.

We were grateful for other excellent voices who spoke to the Department of Education urging the Department to protect the rights of women and girls in education, sports, and to protect parental rights. Here are a few quotes from the hearing:

Title IX was enacted to protect girls from discrimination based on sex, not “gender identity.” Article 7 of The Declaration [on Women’s Sex-Based Rights], consistent with Title IX, affirms women’s rights to participate actively in sports on a single-sex basis to ensure fairness and safety for women and girls.” – Lauren Levey, steering committee member, U.S. Chapter of the Women’s Human Rights Campaign

President Joe Biden’s policy, as stated in his Executive order, fails to protect the status and dignity of women as female and is a threat to every woman in America, especially female students and athletes.  ‘Gender identity’ does not equal sex.  Therefore, it should not be used to compromise Title IX protections for women. ‘On the basis of sex’ under Title IX should be based solely on the biological truth of being male or female.” – Doreen Denny, Vice President of Government Relations for Concerned Women for America

“…the social transition of children directed by school officials should be instead considered medical treatment, because the reason for directing that behavior is usually alleged to be the mental health of the child. Only parents have the right to direct the medical treatment of students. School administrators lack the medical training and professional competency to address those needs. Medical interventions are the responsibility of the parent and the doctor of their choosingEvery child has dignity and value. Every child is born in exactly the right body. The protections enshrined in Title IX – including religious exemptions – benefit everyone just as they are.” – Meg Kilgannon, Senior Fellow for Education Studies for Family Research Council

Every American has a right to speak at these national public hearings- even if we disagree. One speaker called for the Department of Education to limit the religious exemption in Title IX in order to limit or prohibit Christian Universities from teaching or implementing Biblical principles related to sexuality.

Again, today is the LAST DAY to weigh in at this “national school board meeting” and tell the Department of Education you STRONGLY OPPOSE ANY CHANGES in their education policies that redefine “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” It is critical that the Department of Education receives your perspective on this issue—otherwise, the only voices they hear will be the ones calling for an increasingly sexualized agenda in schools and an end to religious freedom.

Thank you again for protecting women and girls in schools!

Click here to submit your comment NOW!

Standing for Families and Children,

Nicole Hudgens
Government Affairs

Remember When Bathrooms Were Just Bathrooms?

By Autumn Leva, VP of Strategy

Remember not so long ago when bathrooms and locker rooms were just bathrooms and locker rooms, instead of the Left’s battleground for social experiments?

We do too—and so does President Trump’s Administration.

In 2016, President Obama’s Administration radically reinterpreted a federal law called Title IX. Ironically, Title IX was designed to give equal access to educational opportunities to girls—but the Obama Administration used Title IX to force schools to permit men and boys (who self-identify as female) to access girls’ locker rooms, showers and bathrooms—or vice versa. This mandate turned Title IX and its accompanying regulations on its head, prompting several states to sue the Obama Administration.

You may remember that Family Policy Alliance partnered with a radical feminist group, and together we also took our argument to the Supreme Court. We argued that if even a pro-family, Christian conservative group and a radical left feminist group can agree that the Obama Administration’s new interpretation of a longstanding law is wrong—then it must be wrong. Check out the video where we explain the arguments we gave to the Court.

When President Trump came into office and appointed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, they decided that they would not follow the Obama Administration’s interpretation of Title IX—freeing schools from Obama’s “bathroom mandate.”

Just yesterday, President Trump’s Education Department also announced that they would not investigate any claims of “discrimination” because a student identifying as transgender was not permitted by a school to use the showers or bathrooms of the opposite sex. This act restores the original purpose of Title IX and prevents children’s locker rooms and bathrooms from being used as battlegrounds for the Left’s political agenda.

Thank you, to President Trump and Secretary DeVos!

But, as the family of Believers, we need to know that the “bathroom issue” isn’t going away. Sadly, many individual schools or states have been passing policies to permit men and boys access to girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms out of fear of being called “discriminatory.” Our responsibility to protect all children’s privacy and safety should be bigger than any fear of being labeled as a “discriminator.”

Please let us know if your school has passed a bad “bathroom” policy, risking children’s privacy and safety. We want to partner with you to fight for good policies that will protect all children. And, please be alert to the kinds of policies your state may be considering on this issue—let your friends and family know that Family Policy Alliance can provide state-specific alerts when state legislatures are considering harmful policies like a “bathroom mandate.”

Nicole Theis, Family Policy Alliance’s allied leader in Delaware, delivers petitions to the Governor and Department of Education.

Last month, we told you about a push by the Delaware Department of Education to allow school children to self-identify their sex – as well as their race – without their parents’ input.  With backing from the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the leading LGBT lobbying group, it looked like this policy would sail through.

But then the radical policy ran into a wall of opposition orchestrated by Nicole Theis, who heads Family Policy Alliance’s allied organization, Delaware Family Policy Council.  She reached out to parents and other concerned citizens to inform and rally them to action – and even made an appearance on Fox & Friends.  As a result, in the last week Nicole and her team delivered 8,000 comments and petitions to the Governor and the Department of Education.

In response to the overwhelming opposition, the state announced that it is pulling the proposed regulation and sending it back for “substantive changes.”

The proposed rule (Regulation 225) would have, among other things, forced schools to let teenage boys use girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms.  “Regulation 225 is an example of the direct conflict between transgender ideology and parental authority,” said Theis.

While the battle certainly isn’t over in Delaware, Theis is very encouraged with the way parents responded.  “We’ve never seen so many people engage on an issue in such a unified way as we did with this regulation. We gave people tools to make it easy to take action, and citizen activists went to work all over the state, as much as they could in such limited time. We’re thanking God for the media opportunities to inform people and sound the alarm to wake up parents.”

If you live outside of Delaware, stay alert for related efforts by your state’s department of education.  Similar regulatory attempts have already been undertaken in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. We know the Left is targeting other states as well. Check out our piece Your State’s Education Department – Do You Know What’s Going On? to learn more. Families in Delaware proved that when they work together to call on elected leaders to stand for godly, family-centered values, they can make a huge impact in a state!

Finally, your support of Family Policy Alliance alerts and mobilizes people all over America, including in Delaware through our assistance to Nicole Theis and her team.  Thank you for making a difference!

Action needed to protect free speech for teachers and students

The Trump Administration has issued a memo directing that civil rights investigations be launched against schools that don’t enforce the use of “preferred pronouns” of transgender students.

This federal pressure means that schools are likely to force teachers and students to refer to a boy as a “she” or refer to a “gender-neutral” person as a ze or a zir.

This comes as something of a surprise, given that the Trump Administration earlier reversed President Obama’s edict requiring schools to open up bathrooms based on gender identity.

But perhaps the directive shouldn’t have come as a big surprise.  The person who issued the memo, Candice Jackson, is the acting director of the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education.  Given that she was appointed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos – who has been attacked mercilessly by the Left – some may assume that Jackson is a pro-family conservative.

Yet Jackson, who has been in a same-sex marriage for more than ten years, is known for her vocal support of the LGBT movement. In January, she tweeted an article about the gay community getting an ally in Trump, adding the comment: “Reasonable LGBT citizens (as opposed to the militant leftwing LGBT movement) have reason to cheer POTUS Trump; he’s shifting the GOP.”

Regardless of the motivations, though, this directive poses a serious threat to the free speech and religious liberty of students, teachers and school administrators. After all, the Bible is clear that God created every child as a male or female. And science confirms that sex is identified not merely by genitalia, but by every cell of the human body.

But if this directive is not altered, Jackson and her army of over 550 investigators and support staff will have free rein to investigate and punish schools for allowing teachers and students to use speech that conforms with both science and their deeply held religious convictions.

And in the process, they will be using the power of compulsory speech to ingrain within this generation of young people the very uncommon-sense notion that people can change their sex.

Please speak up now – before our kids can no longer speak the common-sense truth.

TAKE ACTION: Click here to quickly send a message to Secretary DeVos – along with President Trump and Vice President Pence – asking that this directive be rescinded or altered to protect the free speech and religious liberty of all Americans.

What if the government ran a chain of “cafeterias” for children?

What would they serve? How would they treat your family? How far would they go to protect the monopoly?

In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard explores that analogy in light of recent happenings on Capitol Hill.

Thank you for sharing Stoplight with your friends.

2016-11-03-gloucester

Most moms and daughters would agree that boys in public schools do not belong in girls’ restrooms and locker rooms – and vice versa. And now the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether common sense will prevail over President Obama’s misguided activism.

A school district in Gloucester County, Virginia, turned down a female student’s request to use the boys’ restrooms. The student says she identifies as a boy, and, under controversial new guidelines from the Department of Education, being willing to say so is all it takes.

The state chapter of the ACLU sued on behalf of the girl. A federal appeals court ruled against the school district. Recently, the nation’s highest court added the case to its list.

“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy and safety of all students,” according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Gary McCaleb. “In light of the right to bodily privacy, federal law should not be twisted to require that a male be given access to the girls’ facilities, or a female to the boys’ facilities.”

ADF filed a brief supporting the school district on behalf of nearly 9,000 parents, students, grandparents and members of the community, as well as more than 40 state family policy councils.

2016-11-03-pa-rallyWe know it’s possible to stop the so-called bathroom mandate. A similar effort in Pennsylvania successfully was pushed back, thanks in part to the efforts of Pennsylvania Family Council. The group collected petitions, coordinated phone calls and held a public rally.

“I’m a mom of three young girls,” said Carla D’Addesi, a spokeswoman for the Defend My Privacy Coalition. “I want to make sure that my children’s expectation of privacy and their safety is not being infringed upon.”

Family Policy Alliance launched the “Ask Me First” project to equip families across America with resources to help them stand up for their moms and daughters. We encourage you to view the real-life stories, and even share your own at AskMeFirstPlease.com

Several states have jointly filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration for pushing its bathroom agenda onto public schools.

An announcement was made recently, giving “guidance” on Title IX and opening all public school bathrooms, showers and locker rooms to all students regardless of their biological sex.

Policy Director Autumn Leva tells us that there is a lot to be hopeful about in this latest round of legal wrangling.

Obama DOJ_DOE Graphic

The Obama Administration continued its overreach on Friday by issuing an edict declaring that all public school restrooms, locker rooms and showers should be open to members of either sex, based on a student’s declared gender identity. The statement included a threat to withhold federal funds from states that do not give in. It’s one more salvo in the ongoing push to force transgender policies into the school system.

Thanks to the bravery and integrity of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory in the face of great opposition to that state’s bathroom protection policy, more elected officials are standing up to the pressure from activists. We’ve compiled a list of those who support commonsense protections for women and children. If you’re state isn’t one of them, consider sending an email to your governor. We’ve made it easy through the Family Policy Alliance Action Center.

We’ve compiled a list of elected officials pushing back against the Obama Administration’s directive.  

TAKE ACTION
Encourage your elected officials to support commonsense privacy laws to protect women and children in public accommodations through the Family Policy Alliance Action Center.

Chicago Bathroom Lawsuit Graphic

Fifty-one families signed on to a lawsuit seeking to change a dangerous restroom policy enacted by a Chicago-area public school. It allows students to use the restroom of the gender which with they say they “identify.” It would give boys access to girls restrooms, locker rooms and showers.

Township District 211 instituted the policy after the U.S. Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from the school. The DOE claims the school is in violation of Title IX.

“No government agency can unilaterally redefine the meaning of a federal law to serve its own political ends,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “The Department of Education is exceeding what it is legally and constitutionally allowed to do. In fact, at least five other federal and state courts have rejected the DOE’s interpretation of Title IX.”

The lawsuit asks that the policy be overturned and any agreements with the Department of Education deemed illegal. Attorneys with the Thomas More Society are serving as local counsel on the case.

“It’s a massive step backwards to force women to give up their inherent right to bodily privacy,” said Thomas More Society attorney Jocelyn Floyd. “To impose such a rule on still-developing teenage girls, as they’re already struggling with puberty’s changes on their bodies and social pressures to look a certain way, undermines their dignity and tells them that their rights don’t matter. This isn’t a message our schools should be sending to our girls.”

TN Privacy Graphic

A Tennessee House subcommittee held hearings today on bill that would protect the physical privacy of students in public school restrooms.

A Tennessee House subcommittee held hearings today on bill that would protect the physical privacy of students in public school restrooms. HB 2414 seeks to protect the privacy rights of all students, but especially those who have suffered sexual trauma.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Sharp testified before the committee.

“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to members of the opposite sex is not only legal, it’s an important duty of officials who watch over our children,” he said. “Letting boys into girls’ restrooms and changing areas, for example, is an invasion of privacy and a threat to student safety.”

The state Department of Education said they are simply following the guidelines laid out in the Title IX law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any school that receives federal funds.

“That’s not what Title IX means,” said Sharp. “It’s deeply ironic that the Department of Education is using its lawless misinterpretation of Title IX to pressure schools to adopt policies that actually violate Title IX.”

Family Action Council of Tennessee President David Fowler said the state DOE claims it’s only trying to give the schools local control.

“The Tennessee Department of Education needs to stop hiding behind all these specious arguments and develop an ethical spine regarding human sexuality and biology,” he said. “It needs to say that there is something true about the nature of human biology or there is not, and then support policies accordingly.”