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We Must Codify Title IX Protections for Biological Girls

AP Photo/John Bazemore

In 1972, Title IX, the anti-discrimination law that protects girls and women in education, was passed — and that law is under attack. Some Republican-led states have stepped up, passing legislation to stop biological males from competing in girls’ sports. To thwart them, the Biden administration is looking to reinterpret Title IX to include gender identity. That way, the federal government can deny schools federal aid if they don’t allow boys who “identify” as girls to play on girls’ sports teams or share their bathrooms and changing facilities.

We’ve seen this before. In May of 2016, the Obama administration declared that the Departments of Justice and Education would both “treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX” and issued a directive to all public school districts in the country to allow students to use the bathroom matching their “gender identity.”

Even The New York Times noted at the time that Obama’s directive didn’t have the force of law. But schools that didn’t comply with Obama’s gross misinterpretation of Title IX were essentially bullied into submission. So, if you were a mediocre player on the boys’ sports team, you could identify as a girl, get to play on their team, and find yourself on top. We’ve all heard the stories, such as the biological boys who ran track in Connecticut, played on the girls’ team, and dominated their female competition. More recently, Lia Thomas, a mediocre swimmer on the UPenn men’s swim team, started identifying as a woman, joined the women’s team, and crushed all the real women.

The problem with the transgender argument is that Title IX only refers to biological sex. The lawmakers who passed the law weren’t even aware of the concept of “gender identity” or “gender expression” or whatever new terms have been created in the last five minutes. Nonetheless, as clear as it is, the issue of Title IX needs to be resolved, and not by executive fiat. Obama’s actions in 2016 set off the pendulum; Title IX’s interpretation and enforcement will repeatedly change depending on which party controls the executive branch. Obama opened Pandora’s Box, and now, trans advocates are citing Title IX in lawsuits against state bans on transgender athletes competing in girls’ sports.

Related: Young De-transitioners Express Regret: ‘I Was Failed by the System.’

Joe Biden will follow in Obama’s footsteps and use the power of government to bully schools into letting males play on girls’ and women’s sports teams. He’ll cite fairness, dignity, and respect for trans athletes but will completely ignore, just as Obama did, the dignity and privacy of girls who don’t want to share bathrooms and changing facilities with boys. He’ll turn a blind eye to the girls who spent years training and competing who must suddenly compete against boys with biological and physical advantages, robbing them of the opportunities they worked so hard for.

When Republicans take back Congress and the White House, they must act quickly to codify protections for girls and women. Educational institutions deserve consistency, and female athletes deserve dignity, respect, and fairness.