By Virginia Foxx
This year officially marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, a law from 1972 that mandates equal opportunities for women in education. While this anniversary deserves to be recognized, the threat of President Biden’s flawed interpretation of this legislation looms larger than ever before.
This administration’s radical reinterpretation of Title IX to include sexual orientation and gender identity has pushed women to the sidelines. The strides women have made across all corners of the sports world deserve to be celebrated, not torn to pieces by the far Left’s radical ideological agenda.
President Biden’s decision to allow biological male athletes who identify as transgender to compete in women’s sports is an affront to the progress that women have made since 1972. Title IX was a revolution for women’s sports. Before this legislation came to fruition, women’s college sports received only a meager two percent of athletic budgets. Since its passage, Title IX has spurred women’s participation in sports by a considerable margin. Instead of rightfully celebrating these achievements, the Left is willing to sacrifice them for the sake of its radical political agenda.
This new and ever-evolving gender ideology is also a threat to women’s safety. Those on the Left have required gender neutral bathrooms, locker rooms, and domestic violence shelters in the name of inclusivity and diversity. But they refuse to acknowledge that forcing women to share these types of facilities with biological men is dangerous and an egregious violation of privacy. Because of my concerns regarding the increased risk of sexual assault to girls forced into sharing bathrooms and locker rooms with biological males, I sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona asking the administration to rescind its harmful reinterpretation of Title IX.
Instead of tolerating the Left’s political assault on women, it is imperative that we make the safety and needs of young girls and women a top priority.
Safety concerns aside, the insistence that athletes who identify as transgender should be able to participate in women’s sports has stirred considerable discontent within the public square. This strong condemnation comes from the unprecedented unfairness women face when asked to compete against biological males. A sense of fairness is one of the most innate emotions that humans possess. Even toddlers understand it.
Consider the story of Lia Thomas, a biological male swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, who now competes in women’s swimming. Thomas has made waves by breaking multiple women’s swimming records and posting nation-leading times. Thomas out-paces the biologically female competition by wide margins and sets unmatchable standards, making the hours these female athletes spend preparing for their races feel meaningless.
This is becoming a more and more widespread phenomenon across sports and across the country. During the 2019-2020 school year, a transgender runner at the University of Montana decimated the competition, beating the second-place finisher by 4.5 seconds. In 2018, two transgender athletes took first and second place at a Connecticut high school track and field competition. These races run afoul of the very spirit of fair play.
Preventing biological males from competing against women in athletic competitions is not discrimination: it is safeguarding the integrity of women’s sports. Strength, agility, speed, and physical endurance are physical realities correlated to biological sex. Pronouns, names, or self-proclaimed identity groups have no impact on these realities. If bodies do not matter in sports, then we should pit adults against children on playing fields or do away with classification by weight in boxing or wrestling. It is obvious why these suggestions are absurd — and the same logic should lead us to protect women’s sports from biologically male participants.
Like it or not, sports are based on physical ability, not how one feels on the inside. Pretending otherwise is a stark denial of reality.
Erasing sex and gender means ultimately erasing women, especially when it comes to sports. Girls and women at the top of their sport lose a fair chance to compete when a biological male enters the field. How is this any different than keeping women off the field altogether?
We can’t let women’s sports become collateral damage in the far Left’s campaign against a traditional, science-based understanding of sex and gender. Allowing women and girls to suffer for the sake of being politically correct is the textbook definition of cowardice.
For these reasons, I am in support of Congresswoman Mary Miller’s (R-Ill.) Safety and Opportunity for Girls Act, which would prohibit the Biden administration from disallowing schools to maintain sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams. Radical gender ideology has no place in schools. Title IX should be about giving women more opportunities, not putting their safety at risk or minimizing their chance at success.
I am proud of the progress our nation has made in the past 50 years to uplift and affirm the rights of women. The prospect of those advances being lost today is gut-wrenching. If we allow these fantasies to become mainstream, 50 years of progress will be buried completely.
Congresswoman Virginia Foxx represents North Carolina’s 5th District in the United States House of Representatives. Foxx is the Ranking Member of the Education and Labor Committee.