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May Mailman
May Mailman
May 31, 2024 - 4 minutes
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Opinion

Biden’s Title IX Regime Absolutely Affects Sports

This op-ed was written by May Mailman, director of Independent Women’s Law Center. This piece originally appeared in Washington Examiner.


After considerable delay, President Joe Biden’s administration published its massive regulation abusing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. While it generally redefines the law’s prohibition on “sex” discrimination to require treating students in accordance with their “gender identity,” the regulation at first glance appears to leave athletics alone. The regulation says that while males must generally be permitted into women’s spaces, the long-standing athletics regulation (allowing sex-separate teams) will remain in place.  

But the Independent Women’s Forum is suing the Biden administration to protect female athletes from its Title IX regulation. Because let’s be clear: The new regime unquestionably destroys women’s sports. And that destruction violates Title IX.

To start with some basics, Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program that accepts federal funds, from daycare to doctoral programs. In prohibiting sex discrimination, Title IX explicitly recognizes that men and women are different. Because of those differences, giving women equal educational opportunities sometimes requires women’s-only facilities and organizations. For example, Title IX specifically permits schools to offer single-sex living facilities. And to ensure that women have a meaningful opportunity to compete in athletics, Title IX permits, if not requires, single-sex athletic teams. 

Title IX has been wildly successful. When it was passed, only 300,000 women played high school sports. Now, that number is more than 3.4 million. Sports are an important part of the academic environment, especially for girls. Girls who play sports have higher grades, higher self-esteem, and lower levels of depression — an outcome desperately needed among today’s girls.

Instead of helping women, the Biden administration’s reinvention of “sex discrimination” mandates that men be treated as women (or whatever else) based on claimed gender identity. The administration admits that toilets, locker rooms, and sex-education classes (long permitted to be sex-based for obvious reasons) must now incorporate those who claim exclusion would “harm” them on the basis of their subjective identity. 

Sports are a part of all this. For one, the Biden administration has made clear that Title IX applies to all aspects of the educational experience — including athletics. It has argued in court that Title IX, the law, requires female athletes to accommodate men. In other words, the administration’s position is you can have your women’s sports so long as women’s teams are open to men. Doesn’t really sound like women’s sports to me. 

And even if Biden’s Title IX interpretation permitted single-sex athletic competition, the new Title IX rule would continue to upend women’s sports. And that’s by dismantling the privacy of women’s locker rooms. As Independent Women’s Forum Ambassador Paula Scanlan, a former teammate of Penn swimmer Lia Thomas, has testified, she was forced to undress before Thomas, a 6’4” fully intact biological male, 18 times per week. After voicing her concern to university officials, Paula was told that changing with Thomas was mandatory and reeducation counseling would be available for her to get comfortable with it. This abusive story will now play out in locker rooms across the country. 

The far-reaching, illegal, and immoral Title IX regulation sets women back. It devastates women’s spaces, degrades womanhood to a stereotypical state of mind, and elevates male emotions over the real barriers women historically and presently face in educational settings. And yet, common sense has evaded the upper echelons of the Washington bureaucracy, requiring the judiciary, in response to our lawsuit, to clarify once again for our president and his lackeys how laws work. 

May Mailman
May Mailman
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