A national conservative watchdog group is encouraging people to flood an online page of the Federal Register with comments about a proposed rule change to Title IX.
If adopted, the change to the federal civil rights law would guarantee the right of male students identifying as females to participate in girls’ sports, in most cases.
Schools failing to comply would lose their federal funding.
And that would continue a growing trend that has infuriated female athletes around the country.
They say they’ve been unfairly pushed off the champions’ podium by stronger, faster biological males.
On April 6, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) released a notice of proposed rule-making on athletic eligibility for transgender students who participate in school sports. Some states recently have banned these students from participating on teams different from their biological sex.
The Biden administration proposal, as explained by the government journal, “would govern a recipient’s adoption or application of sex-related criteria that would limit or deny a student’s eligibility to participate on a male or female athletic team consistent with their gender identity.”
Officially, the rule-change proposal is listed as “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance: Sex-Related Eligibility Criteria for Male or Female Athletic Teams.”
Public comment will be allowed through May 15, according to the site. As of April 26, more than 24,600 comments with mixed reactions had been logged.
“I find it significant that men’s thoughts and feelings are prioritized over both women’s feelings, as well as everyone’s objective reality,” wrote open person opposed to the change. “This is nothing less than misogyny, the belief that women don’t matter.”
Others felt the rule didn’t go far enough in protecting transgender rights.
“Discriminating against trans athletes is harmful and should not be allowed at any level, including high school and college,” a proponent wrote.
According to a DOE press release, “The proposed rule would establish that policies violate Title IX when they categorically ban transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity just because of who they are.”
But it’s the community of female athletes who should feel violated, some activists told The Epoch Times.
Some critics complained that the Biden administration has conflated gender with sex under Title IX, something they say goes against the idea of giving girls and women equal opportunities.
The national watchdog group Citizens Defending Freedom (CDF), previously known as County Citizens Defending Freedom, is urging parents and students to speak out before the deadline. The group has set up a toolkit to help parents fight the rule change.
CDF contends that recognizing “gender identity” and sexuality under the federal law “has no legal basis.”
And the changes are especially troubling, and possibly dangerous, because they would allow students to use restrooms and dressing rooms associated with the gender of their choice, said Lindsay Rives, national media correspondent for CDF.
“As a girl who competed in sports, if I had been forced to shower with biological males, I wouldn’t only question whether my safety and privacy were at risk, but I would reevaluate playing sports altogether,” Rives told The Epoch Times.
Innovative Teachers of Texas, a conservative group, has supported the CDF’s campaign, blasting out an email to members saying, “We need to flood the comment section against this push by Biden.”
Red states, conservative parents, and some top female athletes already have put up fierce resistance to allowing males who identify as females in girls’ and women’s sports.
More than just taking away trophies, honors, and potential scholarships from girls, critics have said allowing biological males to continue competing against females could bring an end to women’s sports competitions altogether.
There are no publicized instances of girls identifying as boys edging males out of opportunities for similar honors or scholarships.
Comply or Lose Funding
The Biden administration’s proposed change is significant because the rule would apply to public K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions that receive federal funding. To avoid losing federal education dollars, those institutions would have to comply.
Proponents of the change contend that civil rights laws should protect transgender students. They argue that students with gender dysphoria are less likely to commit suicide if allowed to transition.
Studies on that have shown mixed findings.
“Every student should be able to have the full experience of attending school in America, including participating in athletics, free from discrimination,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a news release. “Being on a sports team is an important part of the school experience for students of all ages.”
The proposed rule appears to recognize public resistance to allowing biological males to compete against females.
In some instances, particularly in competitive high school and college athletic environments, the rule would allow some schools to adopt policies that limit transgender students’ participation.
The proposed rule would provide schools with a framework allowing schools to create participation policies.
High-profile instances of women losing out to biological men have prompted court cases winding their way through the system.
One lawsuit filed In February 2020 claims that four female high school athletes in Connecticut were denied equal opportunities for women under Title IX because they were forced to compete against boys identifying as women.
The lawsuit, filed by the conservative nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, argues that because the defendants allowed males identifying as female to compete in girls’ athletic events, boys consistently deprived the plaintiffs of honors, opportunities to compete at elite levels, and potential scholarships.
In December 2022, a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit ruled against the female athletes Selina Soule, Alanna Smith, Chelsea Mitchell, and Ashley Nicoletti in Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools.
But in a rare move, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals announced in February that the full court decided to hear the case.
Cases are sometimes heard again by a full court if the matter is of exceptional public importance or if there is a conflict with a prior court decision.
While the courts may resolve the cases, Rives said, the issue is critical for women’s rights. She urges people to speak out.
“The transsexual movement is undeniably an assault on women’s rights.”