When Title IX became law in 1972, I was a competitive high school swimmer. In my hometown of Holland, Michigan, I was lucky that girls weren’t denied the opportunity to compete in sports like they were elsewhere in our country. The historic law was intended to put an end to this shameless sexism.
Fifty years later — under orders from people on the fringes — the Biden administration is taking steps to end women’s sports as we know them.
After decades of progress for female athletes, the White House has just proudly announced its intention to change the plain text of Title IX. The law states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or discriminated against in any education program or an activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The Biden team is determined to redefine “sex” from its clear biological and legal meaning to include “sex stereotypes, sex-linked characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation and gender identity”.
The implications of such a radical change are undeniable. The proposal would make it illegal for any school or state to ban biological males from competing with females.
This blanket approach, including nebulous terms such as “sex stereotypes”, could even force schools to eliminate the limited and insufficient requirements in place today, such as the requirement for transgender athletes to undergo hormone therapy before competition. . This will leave biological women at a permanent competitive disadvantage.
Just ask the women who recently lost the NCAA championships to University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas. Thomas started his college career on the men’s team before coming out as trans and breaking women’s records.
And it’s no wonder: even with the removal or replacement of hormones, biological males retain an advantage over females. As The New Yorker noted last month, “People who have gone through testosterone-induced puberty have, on average, greater cardiovascular capacity, greater muscle mass, higher tendon strength and denser bones.They tend to be stronger and larger, with longer wings.
Many of Thomas’ teammates and competitors rightly called the NCAA arrangement unfair. President Joe Biden’s proposal would make it the law of the land.
The administration will do it for a reason: it wants to. Congress failed to act, which is how our system of government demands that such changes be made. The courts have not ruled on this. The American people do not support this decision. But none of that is deterring this White House. This is standard operating procedure for Biden and the far-left Democrats who populate his administration.
The bureaucrats pushing for this change are the same people who sent the infamous “Dear Colleague” letter in 2011 that decimated due process protections on college campuses. Students accused of sexual misconduct have too often been denied access to evidence, cross-examination, and even the presumption of innocence in Title IX cases.
This bureaucratic overflow has led to the creation of mock courts on most college campuses and to devastating miscarriages of justice across the country. Hundreds of court rulings have affirmed their approach to be unfair and genuinely un-American.
As Secretary of Education, I led a very lengthy regulatory process to strengthen and reaffirm Title IX protections. Alarmingly, the Biden proposal is likely to erase those also legal protections.
It’s almost impossible to overstate just how sweeping this White House’s approach to Title IX is. It transcends partisan political lines, clear and long-respected legal boundaries, and the political preferences of a large majority of Americans.
This program has even been criticized by transgender Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner, who noted ensuring sports remain separated by gender is “not transphobic or anti-trans, it’s COMMON SENSE!” Tennis champion and LGBT activist Martina Navratilova said all rules should be based on “biology, evidence and science” – and any approach based on gender self-identification “clearly wouldn’t be on one foot of equality”.
Ultimately, the Biden administration’s proposal will do significant damage to young women who rely on the promise of Title IX. The young women work hard and train daily to become the next great gold medalist or national champion. They deserve the opportunity to compete on an equal footing. And that can only be ensured by maintaining the biological distinctions that have always existed in sport.
There is a way to protect the dreams of young female athletes across the country: stop the White House’s Title IX proposal to erase women’s sport.
Betsy DeVos was the 11th United States Secretary of Education.
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