Melina Korfonta ’25
Washington D.C. –– On Thursday, the Biden administration along with the U.S. Education Department announced a proposed modification to Title IX that would let schools impose some limitations on transgender student athletes, but it is opposed to measures that “categorically” forbid such students from playing on teams that correspond to their gender.
According to the US Department of Education, the decision was made after two years of outreach to national stakeholders, and the modifications still provide schools some choice to prohibit transgender athletes depending on their age and sport. The department stated, “The proposed rule would establish that policies violate Title IX when they categorically forbid transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity just because of who they are.”
The proposal further detailed, “…in some instances, particularly in competitive high school and college athletic environments, some schools may adopt policies that limit transgender students’ participation.”
The regulation change occurs as GOP-led states around the nation continue to pursue a number of anti-trans policies, such as bills designed to prevent transgender children from participating on sports teams that reflect their gender identification. Although Biden has long voiced opposition to such initiatives, his administration’s announcement on Thursday is the most substantial step the administration has taken to date.
Many LGBTQ+ activists voiced their opinions on the proposal. With a variety of views, some groups claim that the suggested guidance does not go far enough.
The ACLU reports that during the last three years, legislation has been introduced in at least 19 states broadly prohibiting transgender children from participating on sports teams that do not correspond to their given sex at birth. The proposed modifications by the Biden administration would make such practices unlawful if they were to be implemented.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement that “Every student should be able to have the full experience of attending school in America, including participating in athletics, free from discrimination. For students of all ages, participating on a sports team is an important part of the school experience.”
According to a news release from the Education Department, the regulation would offer a “framework” for creating qualifying requirements.
A summary of the proposed regulation states that “the Department expects that sex-related criteria that limit the participation of some transgender students for older students, especially at the high school and college level, may be permitted, in some cases, when they enable the school to achieve an important educational objective, such as fairness in competition, and meet the proposed regulation’s other requirements.”
Before becoming law, the proposed rule will be open to public comment for 30 days.
The announcement on Thursday came the same day that the US Supreme Court declined to get involved in West Virginia’s legal struggle against a rule that prevents transgender athletes from playing on female school sports teams. Additionally, it happened the day after the Kansas Legislature overrode the veto of the Democratic governor to enact a unique ban.
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