The state legislators say Title IX should allow transgender to athletes to play on their chosen teams with no exceptions

A coalition of transgender and “nonbinary” legislators have voiced their concerns over President Joe Biden’s proposed changes to Title IX, which would affect transgender students’ participation in school sports.

In an April 10 letter to Biden, the 14 legislators from the states of Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Montana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Vermont said they were writing to express their concerns regarding the Biden administration’s recently unveiled proposed change to the Title IX rule, a policy designed to protect people from discrimination based on sex in schools.

The legislators told the president that they had seen an “extreme uptick in attempts to legalize hatred, exclusion, and discrimination” over the past year, adding that in 2023 alone, state legislatures across the country have introduced 450 pieces of “anti-trans” legislation regarding transgender participation in sports.

Biden’s Title IX Policy Proposal

Under the new policy change proposed by the Department of Education (DOE) on April 6, bans preventing transgender students from participating in sports teams that align with their “gender identity” as opposed to their biological sex would be prohibited.

However, the proposed regulation would allow for some exclusions, particularly in competitive high school and college athletic environments, such as in cases to ensure fairness in competition or prevent sports-related injury.

According to the DOE, the restrictions could be based on “the sport, level of competition, and grade or education level to which they apply,” however they must “not be premised on disapproval of transgender students or a desire to harm a particular student.”

“The criteria also would have to minimize harm to students whose opportunity to participate on a male or female team consistent with their gender identity would be limited or denied,” the DOE said in its proposal.

Specifically under the newly proposed regulation, school policies would be deemed illegal if they “categorically ban transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity just because of who they are.”

The regulation would apply to K–12 public schools, colleges, universities, and other federally funded institutions.

The suggested regulation is a direct challenge to laws in 20 states, including Texas and Florida, where Republican lawmakers have argued that allowing biological males to compete in female sports could impact fairness in competition.

The DOE proposed a series of regulations in 2022 to amend Title IX to include “gender identity” in the definition of sex discrimination in education programs.

No ‘Acceptable Compromise’

However, legislators in their letter to Biden argued that while the administration “may have been attempting to provide legal protections and clarity,” in actuality these proposed rule changes will “simply provide those who seek to deny us our rights a roadmap for how to do so.”

“There is no such thing as an acceptable ‘compromise’ that limits transgender Americans’ access to equal rights,” they wrote. “When it comes to policy addressing trans athletes, our stance is this: Trans athletes belong in sports. Full stop,” they added.

The legislators then urged the administration to work alongside transgender legislators, lawyers, and activists to revise its policy to allow trans people to “fully participate in the sports of their choosing” in a way that does not “perpetuate unfounded and harmful claims about trans athletes.”

The letter was signed by legislators who identify as trans and nonbinary including Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, Minnesota state Rep. Leigh Finke, New Hampshire state Rep. Alissandra Murray, and Vermont state Rep. Taylor Small, all of whom are Democrats.

Responding to the letter, a White House spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Axios that the Biden administration was “committed to protecting LGBTQI+ kids at school” which is why the DOE “proposed a rule to clarify that LGBTQI+ kids have fundamental civil rights protections against discrimination in our nation’s schools.”

The spokesperson added that the proposal “helps clarify how those protections would work in the context” of athletics and noted that there is a 30-day public comment period attached to the rule.

The Epoch Times has contacted the Department of Education for comment.

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