Trans, nonbinary state lawmakers criticize Education Department’s Title IX athletic proposal


Dive Brief:

  • A coalition of 14 transgender and nonbinary state lawmakers from across the U.S. is urging the Biden administration to revise its recently announced regulatory plan that could, in some cases, cause trans athletes to be excluded from the sports teams of their choosing.
  • In an open letter to President Joe Biden on Monday, the legislators said transgender athletes should be permitted to participate in sports aligned with their gender identity. The administration’s policy, which would prohibit blanket bans on transgender athletes, would still “perpetuate unfounded and harmful claims” against them, the lawmakers wrote. 
  • The U.S. Department of Education did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday on the legislators’ criticism.

Dive Insight:

The Education Department’s regulatory proposal, unveiled last week, generated skepticism among some transgender advocates. 

Though the draft rule does not allow for categorical bans on transgender athletes in sports, the department acknowledged “that in some instances, particularly in competitive high school and college athletic environments, some schools may adopt policies that limit transgender students’ participation.”

That’s because the proposed regulation allows federally funded K-12 schools and colleges to impose sex-based restrictions in athletics if it’s for an educational purpose, like preventing injury or ensuring fair competitions. 

This stipulation drew lawmakers’ concerns. They pointed out in their letter that hundreds of anti-trans bills had been introduced nationwide, and that several states have passed legislation banning trans athletes’ involvement in K-12 and college sports. North Dakota’s governor signed such legislation this week.

“To put it plainly, there is no such thing as an acceptable ‘compromise’ that limits transgender Americans access to equal rights,” the lawmakers wrote.


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