Nicole Russell

At The Federalist Nicole Russell writes: “Why It’s Ironic That LGBT Groups Are Complaining About Religious Schools’ Use Of Title IX.” Well, it is not ironic. This is just a pretext for some anti-LGBT bigotry that Russell needed to vent. The Federalist informs us that Nicole Russell is a career journalist whose contributions include the New York Times. That’s not a lie.

Five years ago, in a feature section called Motherlode, Russell penned “Why My Kindergartner Will Stay Home for School.” Therein she offers a rather verbose treatise on home schooling. Not once does she attempt to even question her ability to teach. She also said that she would design the curriculum herself. Ordinarily mommy is not a good substitute for a trained teacher and teaching a kindergartner might be more challenging than teaching graduate level advanced physics.

By the way, our career journalist claimed to have a light freelance workload in 2012. Why am I bothering? Simple. The polemic at The New York Times is incredibly dishonest. While admitting that she lives in an area with good schools she professes concerns about math and reading scores in general. She make numerous excuses for home schooling when it seems that her real problem is potential separation anxiety, letting go. She also planned to do this with the distraction of two younger children in the home at the time. I’m sure that the kid was the beneficiary of some real quality time. Sure.

Getting back to the current piece, Russell’s intellectual honesty has not improved over these past five years. The subtitle reads:

In a strange irony, Campus Pride says schools that exercise their right to act according to their faith are awful but LGBTQ campuses that exploit the same law aren’t.

Campus Pride doesn’t exist to proclaim that some schools are awful. Campus Pride serves two primary purposes with its metrics for LGBT equality at colleges and universities.

  1. It provides information to school officials that can be useful if they desire to be more LGBT inclusive and;
  2. Campus Pride offers prospective students information about how specific colleges and universities will meet their needs. 

Campus Pride’s index is based on eight factors which have evolved over time and will continue to evolve. These are:

  1. LGBTQ Policy Inclusion
  2. LGBTQ Support & Institutional Commitment
  3. LGBTQ Academic Life
  4. LGBTQ Student Life
  5. LGBTQ Housing
  6. LGBTQ Campus Safety
  7. LGBTQ Counseling & Health 
  8. LGBTQ Recruitment & Retention Efforts

“Awful” is not a rating. Schools receive one to five stars for each measure plus separate overall scores for sexual orientation and gender identity. None of the usual suspects is rated. You will not find an assessment for Liberty University, Oral Roberts University or Regent University. The only reason that a school would be concerned by low ratings is if the school wanted to be more LGBT friendly. Thus Russell’s criticism of the index makes no sense whatsoever. It serves only as a pretext for expressing bigotry, mostly over transgender students. I will get to that.

Campus Pride and the LGBTQ lobby rip on private schools for opting out of provisions of Title IX that would otherwise require them to endorse sexual behavior that conflicts with their religious beliefs, although Americans have a constitutionally guaranteed right to free exercise of religion. Most ironically, LGBT lobbyists even abuse Title IX themselves by demanding legal interpretations of it that would destroy women’s higher-education advantages, which the law exists to promote.

“Endorse?” That is the dishonest language of some religious conservatives obsessed with the notion that people seek their approval. The schools that she is referring to are not included in the Campus Pride index. Did she bother to review schools that are, and are not, included?
Among the two-star and under crowd there were only three religiously affiliated colleges that I spotted. Therefore, religious beliefs don’t seem to have anything to do with low ratings. Russell’s asserting otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

To understand the irony of Campus Pride berating schools for opting out of Title IX, or even how it relates to transgender students at all, one must delve deeper into that particular aspect of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. It was originally written in following the Civil Rights Act of 1974 and aimed at sex disparities in higher education.

Much like the way Russell did not explain why she is qualified to teach, she has not informed us of how many schools have Title IX waivers and are indexed by Campus Pride. This entire diatribe is based upon what appears to be a non-existent premise.

So let’s get to some of that prejudice and bigotry:

Let Men Into Women’s Spaces Or Else

Some transgender people, of course, attempt to approximate femininity despite their male sex. Doing so while a college student, then, confers on men Title IX perks aimed at women, particularly in two areas: safety and sports. Further, the trans lobby is arguing in court and regulatory agencies that the word “sex” in Title IX should instead be understood as “gender,” giving transgender people the special privileges under the law without having to get Congress to actually change the law to encompass transgender people.

So it seems that Russell has a means of evaluating comparative femininity — as if that has anything to do with what’s inside a person. I don’t really know what Title IX perks a transgender woman might be able to take advantage of. They are a very small and terribly marginalized community. Its members are highly vulnerable and targets for bigotry from people that have no understanding of why people are transgender. If some government program is of help to them, I’m all for it. What is the point of this?

For example, a group called Safe Spaces for Women, which “provides survivors of sexual assault with care, support, understanding, and advice,” submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, explained how Title IX regulatory changes transgender lobbyists want can harm women: “While Safe Spaces for Women bears no animus toward the transgendered community, it is deeply concerned that … survivors of sexual assault are likely to suffer psychological trauma as a result of encountering biological males—even those with entirely innocent intentions—in the traditional safe spaces of women’s showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms.”

Safe Spaces for Women is not a nonprofit organization. Nor can I find so much as a website (my inability to find one doesn’t mean that it does not exist). There are two Texas lawyers on the amicus brief. It might be a group that existed solely for the purpose of submitting an amicus brief. It doesn’t evidence anything.

These fears are not unfounded. There are numerous examples of men taking advantage of transgendered facilities to surreptitiously record women in locker rooms and restrooms. By allowing people to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and similar facilities of their choice, it creates an environment that can be hostile to women and open up pathways for abuse. Traditionally that would be grounds for a Title IX complaint on women’s behalf. But trans activists like Campus Pride are trying to use a law meant to protect women to instead strip women’s legal protections.

No there are not “numerous examples” and those there are have absolutely nothing to do with trans women. There is no evidence that trans women pose any threat to other women. None. This sounds like a recycling of American Family Association’s fear mongering. Moreover, unless Russell can demonstrate advocacy, Campus Pride is not using Title IX to advance an agenda of any sort. Their ratings do not even include whether or not the college has a Title IX waiver.

Men Using Women’s Advantages Against Them

There’s also a distinct athletic advantage for men who transition to women and play on high school and collegiate teams. It’s so clear one would have to be blind not to see how fraudulent this is, given men’s innately greater physical strength compared to women. Transgender male-to-female boy Mack Beggs made waves earlier this year because he won two girls’ wrestling championships in Texas. It’s easy to see why, as a person born male, complete with the testosterone and build of a biological boy, he might have an advantage over female competitors in wrestling.

That is not necessarily correct because of the effects of hormones. How did high school athletes get into this discussion? I thought that his is about college students. We can have a rational discussion concerning athletic participation which has to start with some peer-reviewed research.

I am going to skip a considerable portion of this:

At first the LGBTQ movement promised same-sex marriage and “bathroom debates” were merely measures to ensure equality. Fast-forward a few years, and it’s clear they were nothing but paving the way to create preferences that give LGBT politics the power to trump any decision in which their desires conflict with others’ rights and beliefs.

Oh here we go again with the hidden agenda. What evidence does Russell offer?

Campus Pride and other like-minded groups are not interested in access, accommodation, or even equality, but about shutting down dissenting voices and using the law as a sword rather than a shield. There is no better example than a group attempting to use Title IX to their advantage, but which then tries to eviscerate others who would opt out of Title IX because they feel it might hinder their ability to practice their own beliefs.

Campus Pride is interested in providing information. That’s it. The above paragraph reads like a Mat Staver cut and paste and his organization is a hate group. Ms. Russell clearly has an agenda and it seems to have little to do with the decisions of campus pride. Perhaps she is motivated by religious belief and the need to feel persecuted. Perhaps not. That’s between her and her therapist.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.