A bill introduced this month in Congress would prohibit biological males from participating in girls’ and women’s sports by clarifying that the language on athletics in Title IX refers to biological sex, not gender identity.
The legislation by U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) would ensure that Title IX provisions on sports treat sex as that which is “recognized based solely on a person's reproductive biology and genetics at birth,” according to a press release from his office.
Further, the bill would find schools in violation of Title IX if they allow biological males to participate in girls’ or women's sports.
Title IX is a 1972 law prohibiting discrimination based on sex in education.
In Connecticut in recent years, two high school biological boys who identify as girls won a combined 15 girls’ track state titles.
The bill, S. 251, has nine co-sponsors, and is intended to thwart action by the Biden administration. It is known as the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act.
During his first week in office, President Biden signed an executive order declaring that his administration interprets Title IX as applying to sexual orientation and gender identity. Biden’s choice for secretary of education, Miguel Cardona, told senators during a hearing that he believes biological boys who identify as girls have the legal right to compete on girls’ teams.
“When transgender athletes compete against women, women’s sports are no longer women’s sports; they become unisex athletic events,” Lee said. “This bill would protect the opportunity of girls throughout America to athletically compete against other girls.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a co-sponsor, said the bill is needed to protect women’s sports.
“I think about my granddaughters – who all grew up playing sports – having to compete against individuals born as males,” Inhofe said. “We are all equal, but we are not all the same and we need this action to protect the future of women’s sports.
The bill has been endorsed by multiple organizations, including by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Concerned Women for American, Family Research Council, Ethics & Public Policy Center, Alliance Defending Freedom, Save Women’s Sports, Independent Women’s Forum, Family Policy Alliance and Women’s Liberation Front.
Title IX currently states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jacob Lund
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.