President Joe Biden pulled out all the stops for International Women’s Day on Monday, but he arguably undercut women’s advancement while paying lip service to it. He issued a glowing statement about women’s empowerment, launched a Gender Policy Council, and signed an executive order barring “sex discrimination” — including discrimination on the basis of gender identity — in public schools. On one hand, Biden celebrated women’s advancement, and on the other, he forced schoolgirls to share bathrooms and sports teams with biological boys.
“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements, contributions, and progress of women and girls in the United States and around the globe,” Biden declared. “My Administration is committed to honoring women by investing in their opportunity, security, and wellbeing.”
Biden touted women’s central role in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, touted his history-making vice president, Kamala Harris, and lamented that “systemic obstacles” still “fuel gender disparities and undermine women’s potential.”
“Elevating the status of women and girls globally is the right thing to do — it is a matter of justice, fairness, and decency, and it will lead to a better, more secure, and more prosperous world for us all,” Biden argued.
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Yet as he made this important declaration, the president also arguably helped erect one of the “systemic obstacles” undermining “women’s potential.”
The president signed an executive order “Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.” While he had already signed an executive order to a similar effect in other arenas, this order specifically directs the Department of Education to require schools to enforce transgender ideology in order to receive federal financial assistance under Title IX.
Preventing “discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity” involves requiring schools to allow biological males to use girls’ restrooms and to open girls’ sports to biological males who enjoy the benefits of higher levels of testosterone and larger body size.
While the order aims to prevent “sexual violence,” it will allow biological males to use women’s and girls’ restrooms and locker rooms in schools. Transgender activists claim that this is not dangerous because people who genuinely suffer from gender dysphoria (the persistent and painful condition of identifying with the gender opposite one’s biological sex) do not represent a threat in private spaces. Unfortunately, opening sex-segregated spaces like bathrooms and changing rooms would not just open the doors to individuals with gender dysphoria — it would also allow provocateurs like Jessica Yaniv and perverts to access private women’s spaces.
In fact, in 2018, a 5-year-old girl claimed a 5-year-old boy who identified as “gender non-conforming” sexually assaulted her in a girls’ restroom at her elementary school in Georgia.
In addition to opening women’s spaces to biological males, Biden’s order will undermine fairness in women’s and girls’ sports.
Scientific journals have confirmed the obvious: males have biological advantages over females that cannot be erased simply by identifying as female. Due to their XY chromosomes, males experience more testosterone from the womb onward, even if they take experimental drugs to “block” puberty or to feminize their bodies.
Last year, female high school athletes filed a Title IX lawsuit challenging rules that allowed biological males who identify as female to compete in their sports leagues, denying them first- and second-place finishes. The lawsuit listed eight broad physiological athletic advantages males enjoy over girls and women after the onset of puberty, including larger lungs, larger hearts, an increased number of muscle fibers and muscle mass, higher myoglobin within muscle fibers (enabling faster transfer of oxygen to those muscles), larger and longer bones, increased mineral density in bones, and height.
Due to these long recognized advantages, sporting events have had different standards for boys and girls to accommodate the athletic striving of biological females. For example, women’s volleyball nets are 7 inches lower, the weight of high school shot put for boys is 36 percent heavier, the hurdle is 6 inches higher for boys, etc.
Duke Law School professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman warned that if women’s sports must admit biological men, “the very best women in the world would lose to literally thousands of boys and men, including thousands who would be considered second-tier.”
Policies that allow males who identify as transgender to compete against female athletes erase fairness in women’s sports, a long-fought feminist priority with which most Americans instinctively agree. Men’s and women’s sports are separate for a reason, and even when transgender policies are well-intentioned, they essentially destroy the barrier between the sexes, and prevent fair competition.
This isn’t just a matter of pride. This kind of policy can translate into opportunities lost, scholarships denied, and college plans ruined.
“I’ve really felt defeated,” then-high school senior Chelsea Mitchell, the fastest biological girl in Connecticut who nonetheless lost four state championships to male competitors who identified as female, told PJ Media last year. “There really isn’t much more I can do than just run my race every time. Every race I’ve ever run against the biological males, I’ve lost. It’s definitely very defeating. It makes you wonder why you’re continuing to run.”
Finally, Biden’s order may push experimental transgender “treatments” on children in schools — so-called “puberty blockers” and cross-sex hormones — “treatments” that actually give healthy but gender-confused kids a disease, according to endocrinologists. This order may actually harm the very gender-confused kids it intends to help.
Biden’s championing of transgender ideology in schools actually sets up “systemic obstacles” that “undermine women’s potential” — in sports and in private spaces. It is heinous for the president to undermine women’s rights on the very day he aims to celebrate women’s rights.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.