Header Ads Widget

Republican governors call for withdrawal of proposed Title IX rule changes around transgender student athletes

Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves addresses supporters at a campaign rally in Richland, May 3, 2023.

CNN — 

A group of 25 Republican governors called on the Biden administration Friday to withdraw or delay recently proposed rule changes to Title IX that could prevent states from enforcing anti-transgender sports bans.

As several bills that aim to ban transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity make their way through GOP-led state legislatures across the country, the governors argued in a letter sent to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona that such bans ensure fairness.

Led by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, the group – including the governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming – slammed the administration’s proposal as “a blatant overreach.”

In April, the Biden administration proposed a new federal rule change for Title IX that would prohibit policies that “categorically” ban transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender. However, according to a public notice from the department, the proposal would allow schools to enforce some restrictions in “competitive” environments.

“Leaving aside the Department’s utter lack of authority to promulgate such a regulation, neither states nor schools should be subjected to such a fluid and uncertain standard,” the governors said in the letter. “Nor, most importantly, should the historic advancements and achievements of our sisters, mothers, and daughters be erased.”

The governors went on to argue that the proposed changes create confusion for states and schools and claimed that the government was threatening to withhold federal funds to coerce schools to comply with a “completely subjective standard that is based on a highly politicized gender ideology.”

CNN has reached out to the Department of Education for comment.

Seventeen of the states signed onto the letter have enacted such bans with a few facing legal challenges, according to the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit think tank that advocates for issues including LGBTQ rights. This week, Missouri lawmakers passed a bill prohibiting students from competing in gendered athletic competitions that do not match their biological sex as listed on a birth certificate or government record, and the governor is expected to sign the measure.

Proponents of such limitations in sports have argued that transgender women have a physical advantage over cisgender women and allowing them to compete would be unfair. However, a 2017 report in the journal Sports Medicine found “no direct or consistent research” on any such advantage.

When the proposed rule changes were announced, advocates celebrated the new protections but called on the administration to eliminate the exemptions.

“Every student deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. This includes transgender girls of all ages and in all sports, without exception,” said Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group.

“The new rule should be clarified to ensure that all transgender students should be presumed eligible to participate in sports consistent with their gender identity,” Robinson added in a statement at the time. “This moment we’re in is truly a crisis for transgender young people – and we’re calling on elected leaders at every level of government to fight harder for our kids.”

Democratic governors of several states whose legislatures have pushed anti-trans sports bans were not listed among the letter’s signers, including from North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 470 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced nationwide this legislative session.

Post a Comment