Trans activists demand Biden include athletics in Title IX revisions
On Aug.11, 50 activist groups implored the Biden administration to unveil a separate Title IX ruling to protect transgender athletes.
The Biden administration insinuated that Title IX revisions would not apply to athletics.
In response to the Biden administration's insistence that its revised Title IX would not impact athletics, 50 women’s rights activist groups are advocating for the inclusion of transgender athletes.
The current proposal to alter Title IX extends protection to transgender students by protecting “sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics,” but the Department of Education (DOEd) stated it would "engage in a separate rulemaking to address Title IX's application to athletics."
In response, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and Women’s Sports Foundation wrote a letter on Aug. 11 imploring Biden to “swiftly release” a Title IX athletic rule that stipulates “transgender, non-binary, and intersex students” can compete as their alleged identity, rather than their biological sex.
“Ensuring that all students, including transgender, non-binary, and intersex students, can enjoy the benefits of sports is essential to achieving Title IX’s promise; moreover, discriminatory and intrusive barriers to participation ultimately harm all women and girls,” the groups wrote.
NWLC Senior Counsel for Education and Workplace Justice Auden Perino told Campus Reform that the administration's failure to issue a direct ruling on transgender athletes puts the students in "limbo."
The groups take direct aim at states adopting laws that bar biological men from competing in women’s college sports, stating that these policies are “deadly” to transgender athletes.
“Without regulations that clearly addresses students’ rights to participate in athletics, state lawmakers will only be emboldened to go further in their quest to rob LGBTQI+ students—many of whom are young children—of their right to participate fully and equally in school sports,'' the authors argue.
Perino expects that the order will be withheld because of potential litigation pushed by states to oppose Biden's Title IX.
The letter set a 2023 deadline for the Biden administration to issue a ruling on transgender participation in sports.
The groups specifically called on the DOEd to “make it plain it will not abide targeting LGBTQI+ students.”
Perino told Campus Reform that allowing transgender athletes to compete on school-affiliated teams would not deter athletic opportunities as "high school and university teams really aren’t a young athlete’s highest level of competition."
"The very small % of teen athletes aiming to compete at elite/professional levels are usually in travel leagues, invitational events, and similar, all controlled by non-school organizations with their own eligibility criteria," Perino said. "That means it makes even more sense for our education policies to focus completely on benefits of sport participation for all students who want to play (i.e. improved grades, retention, health measures). "
However, policies permitting transgender students in women's spaces have resulted in consequences. In 2021, Loudon County, Virginia came under the public eye after a transgender student sexually assaulted a female classmate in the girls' bathroom.
The acceptance of transgender athletes in women’s sports is vastly unpopular among the American public.
According to a May Washington Post-University of Maryland poll, reported by Campus Reform, 58% oppose biological men being permitted to compete in women’s leagues at the collegiate and professional levels.
55% reject permitting them to complete in women's sports at the high school level, while 49% oppose allowing boys to compete against girls at the youth level.
But while these women’s rights groups continue to fight for men to occupy women’s sports, female athletes are continuing to push back against the proposed changes.
On June 23, the 50th anniversary of Title IX, female athletes rallied outside the White House to testify how gender-inclusive policies have ruined their athletic opportunities. Speakers included athletes from a spectrum of sports including track and field, swimming, and skateboarding.
Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky swimmer who was forced to share the podium with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas at the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championship, told Campus Reform that the administration’s fixation on gender identity harms more than only athletes.
"If you're a grandparent, think of your grandchildren. Think of your children, think of your neighbor," she said at the rally. "It's not just the people with experiences this is affecting, it's everyone."
The DOEd is currently accepting public comments about the new Title IX language. The public is welcome to share their opinion on the Federal Registrar until September 12.
Campus Reform contacted the National Women’s Law Center, Women’s Sports Foundation, and the DOEd for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.
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