Republicans are transforming women’s sports to become a major part of their midterm strategy in the same way that the Biden administration’s timeframe to address the issue shrinks.
House Minority Kevin McCarthy’s latest GOP policy agenda states “only women can compete in women’s sports.” Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Georgia Senate hopeful Herschel Walker both have campaigned with an outspoken college athlete who believes that she shouldn’t have to compete against transgender females. In Kansas, there’s a Republican Governors Association that has run advertisements aimed at Democratic Governor. Laura Kelly after she vetoed the ban on transgender athletes in schools.
While the GOP is focusing on gender identities and sports on the campaign tour, Democrats — desperate to hold on to control of Congress remain largely still. As the election in November draws closer and pressure is mounting on lawmakers at the Education Department to propose a rule that explicitly protects transgender athletes to be on teams that reflect their gender identity.
The Education Department has two options: Push out a rule that’s likely to put campaigning Democrats on the defensive, or risk giving a Republican-controlled Congress more time to reverse the rule — and prevent anything “substantially similar.”
“The last thing the Democrats want is to go into the midterms arguing about Lia Thomas,” said Jennifer Braceras, director of the conservative-leaning Independent Women’s Law Center, refers to the transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer who conservatives often cite when they demands restrictions on transgender athletes. “If the administration releases its sports rule before November, then they have to campaign on it.”
It is the Biden administration’s plan to introduce Title IX rule that seeks to expand the decades-old law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation to codify protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation. identity.
The proposal received more than 240,000 people to comment after it was first announced in June. The Biden administration announced a new rules for athletes’ participation. Transgender women have been able to compete in women’s sports at the Olympics since 2003, and at the NCAA since the year 2010 The NPR/Ipsos survey in June revealed that almost two-thirds Americans opposed to allowing transgender females and girls to play in women’s sports.
However, a separate rule for sports is essential, particularly as more states are likely to consider new restrictions as legislators meet again next year, according to Shiwali Patel, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, who has been urging on the White House to speed up the process for regulating.
Certain groups are expecting future regulation to focus on the rules or guidelines for testosterone suppression prior to when the transgender athlete can play on female teams. Although conservatives say testosterone suppression isn’t enough to completely eliminate the athletic benefits.
The department hasn’t offered any details of what it’s thinking about with regard to a separate sport policy, according to Candice Jackson. She worked as the acting assistant secretary for civil rights as well as deputy counsel to the former education secretary Betsy DeVos. She also assisted in the development of an earlier DeVos-era Title IX rule on sexual violations, and is currently an attorney of the Women’s Liberation Front, a group opposed to efforts to accommodate transgender athletes.
The department Jackson explained, may look at redefining the criteria for separating teams based on gender if needed or establish guidelines for eligibility requirements for schools in the K-12 range and colleges. This could also include a specificity of which sports or school authorities are in charge of determining eligibility.
The people who advocate against the rules argue that it doesn’t matter since they believe that the Biden administration’s Title IX rule unveiled over the summer might be broad enough to cover sports as it doesn’t specifically prohibit it.
Furthermore, the Congressional Review Act could pose obstacles to the Administration’s Title IX proposal that looks to protect students based on the gender of their identity or an additional sports rule. The CRA allows lawmakers 60 days to change major regulations once they’re approved by federal authorities. However, it’s still subject to the veto power of the president, CRA resolutions only require the approval of a simple majority, making difficult votes from Democrats.
However, a plethora of feminists and other gender equality activists continue to call on the White House to unveil its policy to ensure that “all students, including transgender, non-binary and intersex students, can participate fully and equally in school sports.”
They would like for the Biden administration to state in writing that the states that have laws or policies which prohibit transgender athletes from participating on teams that reflect their gender identity are violating Title IX.
“Trans Rights are Human Rights,” Cardona tweeted last week. “@USEDGov has and will continue to stand with and protect all students from policies that prohibit them from affirming their gender identity.”
“This is an opportunity to reverse the alarming trend of lawmakers singling out LGBTQI+ students in an effort to score political points,” the groups, led by NWLC, told the White House, “and, moreover, reject the bigoted premise that they do not deserve the same civil rights protections as their peers.”
It’s a sticky situation that the Democrats want to steer clear of as they go into the midterms, for sure.