Biden’s Title IX Rule Sparks Legal Battle to Protect Women’s Sports


After significant delay, President Joe Biden’s administration unveiled a large-scale regulation modifying Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Although it broadly reinterprets the law’s prohibition on “sex” discrimination to include “gender identity,” it initially seems to leave athletics untouched. The regulation indicates that while males must generally be allowed into women’s spaces, the long-standing athletics regulation permitting sex-separate teams will stay intact.

However, the Independent Women’s Forum is suing the Biden administration to shield female athletes from the implications of this Title IX regulation. The new rule undeniably undermines women’s sports, thereby violating Title IX.

To clarify, Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program receiving federal funds, from daycare to doctoral programs. In banning sex discrimination, Title IX explicitly acknowledges the differences between men and women. Because of these differences, ensuring equal educational opportunities for women sometimes necessitates women-only facilities and organizations. For instance, Title IX allows schools to provide single-sex living facilities. To guarantee women a meaningful chance to compete in athletics, Title IX permits, if not requires, single-sex athletic teams.

Title IX has achieved great success. When it was enacted, only 300,000 women participated in high school sports. Today, that number exceeds 3.4 million. Sports play a crucial role in the academic environment, particularly for girls. Girls involved in sports tend to have higher grades, greater self-esteem, and lower levels of depression—a critical need for today’s girls.

Rather than aiding women, the Biden administration’s reinterpretation of “sex discrimination” necessitates that men be treated as women (or otherwise) based on their declared gender identity. The administration acknowledges that toilets, locker rooms, and sex-education classes (previously allowed to be sex-based for evident reasons) must now include those who claim that exclusion would harm them based on their subjective identity.

Sports are part of this reevaluation. The Biden administration has clarified that Title IX applies to all aspects of the educational experience, including athletics. It has argued in court that Title IX necessitates female athletes to accommodate men. Essentially, the administration’s stance is that you can have women’s sports as long as women’s teams are open to men. This hardly seems to align with the essence of women’s sports.

Even if Biden’s interpretation of Title IX allowed single-sex athletic competition, the new rule would still disrupt women’s sports by dismantling the privacy of women’s locker rooms. According to Independent Women’s Forum Ambassador Paula Scanlan, a former teammate of Penn swimmer Lia Thomas, she was compelled to undress before Thomas, a 6’4” fully intact biological male, 18 times per week. After expressing her concerns to university officials, Paula was told that changing with Thomas was mandatory and that reeducation counseling would be available to help her adjust. This invasive scenario will now be replicated in locker rooms nationwide.

The extensive, illegal, and unethical Title IX regulation significantly regresses women’s rights. It obliterates women’s spaces, reduces womanhood to a stereotypical mindset, and prioritizes male emotions over the actual challenges women face in educational environments. Common sense appears to have eluded the highest levels of the Washington bureaucracy, necessitating judicial intervention through our lawsuit to reiterate the fundamental principles of law to our president and his associates.

May Mailman
May Mailman
Contributor. May Mailman is Vice President for Legal, Strategy, and Communications at Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE). She is also a Senior Fellow at Independent Women’s Law Center. She is a former legal advisor to President Donald J. Trump, where she advised on a wide range of policies including healthcare, immigration, and social issues.

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