Title IX – part of the Education Amendment Acts of 1972 – says that "no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
The Biden Department of Education wants to include "gender identity" in addition to biological sex as part of the regulation. But a coalition of attorneys general led by Montana's Austin Knudsen says such a revision infringes on parental rights, erodes the rights of women's and girls' sports, and reverses existing guarantees for victims of sexual assault and harassment (see related article).
"We appreciate them adding their voices to the growing number out there who are really concerned about what we're seeing come out of the Biden administration," says attorney Matt Sharp of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a law firm representing biological female athletes in Title IX cases.
"We've been concerned about how the administration is pushing on the women's sports issue, to say that rather than Title IX protecting fairness in women's sports – as it has long done – that it's actually going to be used to undermine that by allowing males to compete and take spots away from incredibly talented female athletes on the playing field. So, we are concerned that that is where the Biden administration is heading."
This June marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Since its creation, Sharp says countless stories have been told of women talking about how they benefited from the situation.
"It's given them not just in the sports context on the playing field, but careers and degrees that may have never been available to them prior to Title IX and many of the other protections there," says Sharp. "Seeing the Biden administration take these steps to undermine those protections ought to concern every attorney general from every state because of how important Title IX has been to countless women all across the country."
Some may say it's "just a game," but sports can mean a lot to a female athlete's future opportunities.
"When we allow men to compete in women's sports, it's not just the top of the podium, it's not just a young woman who loses that championship, who loses that trophy, but it has a trickle-down effect," the ADF attorney shares. "It means that another young lady lost a spot on the podium. It means somewhere down the line a young woman lost the opportunity to advance in competition, and it means at some point some woman lost that opportunity to be on the team in the first place."
And according to a 2018 study – which found that 94% of female CEOs and business leaders had competed in sports – there's an undeniable correlation between athleticism and business success.
"It's not just impacting their ability to get a scholarship or a championship trophy today, it's may be impacting the very skills that would propel them to leadership and be the next entrepreneur from their state …. So, we are concerned about the short-term and long-term impacts that allowing males on women's teams does," Sharp concludes.
"That's why we're so disappointed to see what the Biden administration is doing, to undermine these opportunities for women, both on the playing field today and in life many years to come."
In summary, ADF argues that when biological reality is ignored and males are allowed to compete on female athletic teams, "basic fairness and the purpose of Title IX" are undermined.