On day one of the Biden administration, he signed a sweeping executive order, "Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation." That order unleashed an assault on Title IX, the federal law prohibiting discrimination in educational programs and activities, including athletics, on the basis of sex.
Strangely, many on the left suddenly seem confused about what the definition of a "woman" is. They quite literally refuse to say out loud that a woman is an adult biological female. Additionally, we've heard them call the overturn of Roe v. Wade a "war on women"; maybe they should at least amend their accusation to be a "war on birthing people" in order to be intellectually consistent.
Biden's war on women continued last summer in the form of a "Notice of Interpretation" followed by a "Dear Educator" letter to every school in America delivering the threat of civil rights investigations. Meanwhile, his administration is quite literally attempting to erase women altogether.
The only legitimate road to rewriting Title IX is to follow the Administrative Procedures Act with a justification of any rule changes based on the comments received. The U.S. Department of Education proposed amendments to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) to align with Title IX's nondiscrimination mandate to include elementary schools, secondary schools, postsecondary institutions and any other recipients that receive federal funding. Without any understanding of the irony, the Biden administration announced its 700+ page proposed rule on the 50th Anniversary of Title IX.
Biden's version of Title IX changes the fundamental meaning of "sex" under civil rights law. It says sex discrimination would no longer be about being biologically male or female but would now be based on fluid and personally perceived "gender identity." After 50 years of needed protection for girls and women, the Department of Education is upending the rule to cater to the transgender agenda. The language has been expanded to include "sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics." This means boys will be given access to girls' locker rooms and private spaces. The impact is the intentional reversal of needed protections for girls and women.
The federal ban regarding sex discrimination in education is already being (mis)used to address higher education campus sexual misconduct. Title IX is being used to deny due process to accused college kids, and the proposed regulations will further exacerbate that problem by expanding both definition and reach. The proposed changes are an additional regression and establishment of a more potent weapon.
Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville has been vocal in his opposition to the changes. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall stated, "Joe Biden and his administration are obsessed with imposing their extremist sexual politics on the people of our great nation, adults and children alike." Marshall and 20 other attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The attorneys general are taking the proposed rules to court for due process deficiencies and also the redefinition of "sex" to include gender ideology and same-sex orientation.
Title IX has historically been reserved for public institutions, allowing exemptions for religious schools as a protection of religious freedom. However, in the new rules proposal, this provision has been removed. With no exemption in place, religious schools may be forced by the government to adhere to Biden's new and improved definition of sex.
Public outrage against allowing men identifying as women to compete in female sports has grown stronger after UPenn allowed a biological male to swim on its women's team. Biden's Title IX Rule changes attempt to dodge that controversy by claiming it will address the question of "criteria for participating on particular male and female athletic teams" in subsequent rule-making. In other words, "Just trust us." Spoiler alert: I don't, and you shouldn't either. The proposed Title IX Rule applies fully to athletics, and nothing expressly exempts participation by males in women's sports.
In addition to its negative impact on female student-athletes, Biden's Title IX rule should be opposed for many other reasons. The rule proposal not only rejects biological reality but also requires the affirmation and accommodation of people on the basis of "gender identity" in all of their programs and activities, including restrooms, locker rooms, crisis centers, homeless shelters, and housing (i.e., dorms). Further, the rule changes radically rewrite sex discrimination laws without congressional authorization. In addition to the loss of female rights, parental status is redefined so that school personnel can act without notice to or the consent of parents of minors regarding their child's gender identity, and schools would be empowered to help students transition their gender without parental notification or consent. If that's not enough, abortion is given equal status to childbearing; schools would be required to provide support and services for pregnancy termination. The icing on the proverbial cake is that any student or teacher who dares to hold a traditional view of marriage, the scientific meaning of sex or the value of unborn human life could be charged with sex-based harassment.
The Administrative Procedures Act allows public input after a regulation has been published in the Federal Register. The proposed Title IX comment period will last until September 12, 2022. Make your voice heard here.
Stephanie Holden Smith is an experienced policy analyst, political commentator, and public speaker. Smith has worked and volunteered in Governmental Affairs in Alabama since 1997, including lobbying for a Fortune 500 company and serving as Deputy Director of Finance for the State of Alabama. She is currently the principal of Thatcher Coalition LLC. To contact Stephanie, please go to http://thatchercoalition.com. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information Commentary@1819News.com.
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