AMAC Exclusive – By Katie Sullivan
Earlier this month, 9.9 million people tuned in to watch the NCAA Women’s March Madness final between the LSU Tigers and the Iowa Hawkeyes – the most ever for a women’s college basketball game. Yet despite enormous advancements for girls’ and women’s sports in recent years, an ongoing effort by the Biden administration to radically rewrite Title IX protections in accordance with transgender ideology could undo decades of progress while stealing opportunities from female athletes.
Title IX is the shorthand used to refer to a section of civil rights law enacted in 1972 which prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or educational entity that receives funding from the federal government. In addition to providing more avenues for legal recourse for female victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault in schools and on college campuses, Title IX also led to a drastic expansion of athletic opportunities for women and girls. Thousands of girls have earned college scholarships thanks to Title IX.
Now, however, the Biden administration has proposed an amendment to Title IX that expands the definition of “sexual discrimination” to include gender identity. In effect, this means that schools could not deny a biological male who identifies as transgender the opportunity to compete on women’s sports teams.
The rule would apply to any school receiving federal funds, including any type of student loans – an extremely broad criteria that would cover virtually every school from kindergarten through college.
Notably, the new rule does make an exception for cases where schools believe allowing a biological male to compete against females would create a significant possibility of physical harm for students. However, the administration creates no such carve out for cases where female students feel uncomfortable sharing locker room facilities or overnight lodgings with biologically male students.
The Biden administration – as well as the transgender activists pushing this and other related policies – also make no mention of the psychological harm done to girls by allowing and even celebrating male students participating in and in many instances dominating women’s sports at the expense of female athletes.
Such was the case earlier this year with Lia Thomas, a swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania who competed on the men’s team from 2017 to 2020 as William Thomas before “coming out” as transgender and competing on the women’s team from 2021-2022. When competing against other males, Thomas ranked in the mid-500s nationally. After “transitioning,” however, Thomas’s ranking soared to within the top 10 and he shattered several women’s records on his way to a 2022 women’s national title in the 500-yard freestyle.
Along the way, Thomas kept other hard-working female athletes off the podium, including Riley Gaines, a University of Kentucky swimmer whom Thomas tied for 5th in the 200-yard NCAA freestyle championship last year. Despite the fact that Thomas never should have been competing in the race to begin with, NCAA officials awarded the 5th-place trophy to Thomas.
Since then, Gaines has spoken out publicly against allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports, arguing that we must “defend and protect America’s daughters against the woke left and their gender-denying ideology.”
Other athletes and high-profile sports figures have also come out against allowing biological males who identify as women to compete against biological females. Late last month, Canadian power lifter Avi Silverberg made a public mockery of such policies by entering the Alberta women’s power lifting competition and dominating the field, shattering the women’s bench press record.
ESPN personalities Sam Ponder and Sage Steele have also backed Gaines’s stance. “This would take away so many opportunities for biological women and girls in sports,” Ponder tweeted in reference to Biden’s proposed changes to Title IX. “It is a shame that we are needing to fight for the integrity of Title IX in 2023 and the reason it was needed in the first place. #savewomensports.”
House Republicans joined in the fight last week by passing the Protection for Women and Girls in Sports Act, a bill which, if enacted, will ban biological males from competing on women’s sports teams. The bill passed the House along complete partisan lines, with every Republican in support and every Democrat opposed.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), the bill’s sponsor, stated, “Congress in 1972 created Title IX to protect women’s sports to enable women to have an equal playing field in athletics. In worship to their trans idols, the administration wants to flip that on its head. It is insane.”
Predictably, the White House has strongly opposed the bill, claiming that it “targets” transgender students and even falsely suggesting that it prevents trans-identifying athletes from competing in sports at all.
For Biden, it seems, the interests of women and girls come secondary to those of his far-left activist base.
Katharine “Katie” Sullivan was as an Acting Assistant Attorney General and a senior advisor to the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Trump. She previously served 11 years as a state trial court judge in Colorado.