Editor's note: Public comments are due May 15, 2023; NAS members are encouraged to submit comments opposing this proposal.
On April 13, 2023, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Biden Education Department proposed a new Title IX rule on athletic eligibility, supposedly "based on sex."
Title IX is the Congressional ban on sex discrimination in federally funded education, which includes almost every elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institution in America (a handful of colleges are exceptions, such as Michigan's Hillsdale College and Virginia’s Patrick Henry College, since they refuse federal funding). When proposed rules become regulations, they become part of the law; though they are often challenged in court before they can take effect. That appears likely here.
This proposed rule would allow federal officials to decide for schools if males pretending to be females can play on girls' school-based sports teams.
The 30-page Federal Register commentary released with the proposal mandates how students must be treated when they "identify" as a sex that they are not—so-called "transgendered persons” also called transexuals.
In athletics, the issue is almost always about males claiming to be females so they can compete against women and win, rather than compete against men and lose.
The infamous example of this phenomenon is University of Pennsylvania male swimmer William Thomas, now Lia Thomas, who claims to be a woman and so has predictably out-performed other female swimmers including University of Kentucky student-athlete Riley Gaines. Ms. Gaines was recently harassed (she claims also assaulted) at San Francisco State University when speaking about males competing against females in women’s athletics. Other female celebrity athletes (such as former professional tennis player Martina Navratilova) are also critical of the trend.
Now Biden officials are weighing in. A problem which they helped create by promoting transsexuals to high profile positions, an obvious attempt to normalize the aberrational. Their proposed rule announces that schools cannot “categorically ban” males from participating in female sports, though that approach has worked just fine for decades—until now.
Instead, officials say this "one size fits all" policy is simplistic and would—suddenly—violate Title IX. They warn: “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.”
Following this melodramatic language, OCR pretends to be an objective arbitrator by reassuring schools that it will listen if they want to continue to have separate, single-sex teams and separate, single-sex facilities such as locker rooms.
This might be permissible, OCR allows, "for differences in grades, in education level, and level of competition." Presumably this means that OCR will graciously allow schools to ban males from female teams if, and only if, those teams are for older students where the competition is more intense.
This fake largesse eclipses the fact that prohibiting “categorical” single-sex policies shifts norms and transfers burdens: schools must shoulder the burden of justifying the existence of single-sex teams and facilities for federal approval. This presumption favors transexuals, not girls.
In this vein, OCR continues: “[I]t would be particularly difficult for a school to justify excluding students immediately following elementary school from participating [on teams of their choice] consistent with their gender identity."
The Biden Administration is attempting to shift burdens and impose new norms in favor of gender dysphoria and against sex affirmation. Accordingly, women's teams can no longer be just for women. Thus the interests of female athletes, who would like their own teams as well as their own locker rooms, must yield to a small fraction of confused students.
Of course, some of these students are less confused and more cynical. They're exploiting a sexual fad to receive unfair advantage over female athletes.
But other transexuals truly are confused about the reality of sex, especially their own, having been relentlessly bombarded with media and school content promoting a gender ideology that claims, among other falsehoods, that there are multiple sexes (dubbed "genders") and that transvestitism and on-demand genital mutilation are normal.
The increased incidence of gender dysphoria obviously reflects these non-stop attacks, formerly made against social norms regarding courtship and dating but now also against biological reality. The movement is futile, delusional, and downright creepy. What’s more, Americans overwhelmingly oppose it as monstrous and insane—especially as it is ruining girls’ sports. Where are the grown-ups to call out this bizarre sexual pathology?
By forbidding categorical bans and insisting on overriding local authorities, to decide if a team should be exclusively for women, the Biden administration engage, yet again, in executive overreach with Title IX as their cudgel.
In the United States, education has historically been a matter for state and local governments, not the Washington, and certainly not Biden bureaucrats. If Title IX is the reed on which these officials hang their power lust, it is time to snap and bury that reed.
Which is precisely what many public officials, including at the state level, are now considering. In addition to discussions about repealing Title IX, one state legislator reports conversations under way on how to refuse federal dollars for primary and secondary schools. The money simply is not worth it. Who wants these weirdos making policies for our children?
To be sure, this most recent Title IX mischief is reflective of a much deeper cultural pathology which is well beyond the mischief made of one federal law—Title IX—and its regulations.
But recent school board wars where parents have objected to pornography in schools and to racially discriminatory content (such as critical race theory, concepts of "white privilege," and destructive "diversity" programs) prove that the top-down imposition of immoral, sexualized, and anti-American ideologies are hitting a wall.
Why these ideologies are being imposed so intensely now is the big question; answering it will take time.
In the interim, NAS encourages its members to go on record and oppose the new proposed federal Title IX rule. Information about submitting public comments can be found by clicking here.