Biden Dept. of Education pauses rollout of transgender Title IX rule

FILE: The Lyndon Baines Johnson building housing the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. is shown.

RALEIGH — In a May 26 blog post, the Biden administration’s Department of Education postponed until October its proposed Title IX rule that would force states to allow biological males to play on women’s sports teams.  

The blog post cited receiving more than 240,000 public comments on the proposed rule which is “twice as many” the department received on its most recent rulemaking change to Title IX.  

“Carefully considering and reviewing these comments takes time, and is essential to ensuring the final rule is enduring,” the blog post reads.  

Additionally, the proposed changes affecting athletics and women’s sports received more than 150,000 comments during the public comment period that spanned April 12 to May 15 of this year. 

A large number of the comments received asked the Biden administration to stop the rule change, with scores calling it “nonsense” as well as politically motivated, and warning the change will “further erase women from sports.” 

Biden’s Department of Education called the proposed Title IX regulations released in July 2022 “historic,” going on to say they would “strengthen protections for students who experience sexual harassment and assault at school, and they would help protect LGBTQI+ students from discrimination.”  

In May, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt opposed the proposed Title IX changes in a letter to the Biden administration. In the letter, Truitt asked the administration to “maintain the intent of Title IX as it pertains to safety and fairness in women’s sports.” 

“Under no circumstance can we assume that Congress, when crafting this important law forty years ago, fathomed a biological male playing competitive sports in an all-female league or competition at any level,” Truitt wrote. “The current proposed rule from the Department of Education would undermine the intent of Title IX, which was to increase opportunities for female athletes.”  

During this legislative session, lawmakers also took action. 

Two bills were filed, House Bill 574 and Senate Bill 631, which would block those identifying as females from playing on women’s sports teams in K-12 and college. The measures, both titled the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” were passed by their respective chambers with veto-proof majorities before the crossover deadline and are considered companion bills at this time.  

No Senate Democrats voted in favor of the Senate version while three Democrats voted for passage of the House bill. Reps. Garland Pierce (D-Scotland), Michael Wray (D-Northampton) and Shelly Willingham (D-Edgecombe) voted in favor. 

Rep. Tricia Cotham (R-Mecklenburg), who left the Democratic Party in April, also voted to pass the bill and had also voted in favor of the bills in two committee meetings before the floor vote. 

In a House Judiciary Committee hearing near the end of April, members heard testimony from Riley Gaines, a 12-time All-American swimmer out of the University of Kentucky who has five SEC titles and is a two-time Olympic trial qualifier. 

“I felt betrayed and belittled and like my efforts and sacrifices I had made had been reduced to a photo op to validate the identity and feelings of a male,” Gaines told the committee about Lia Thomas, a biological male who says he identifies as female who officials awarded the March 2022 NCAA championship trophy to even though Thomas and Gaines had tied for fifth in their competition. 

“But that is not all, in addition to being forced to give up our awards and titles and our opportunities, the NCAA forced female swimmers to share a locker room with Thomas — a 6-foot-4, 22-year-old male equipped with an exposing male genitalia — and a room full of vulnerable undressed women,” Gaines said. “Let me be clear: we were not forewarned about this arrangement, no one asks for our consent and we did not give our consent.” 

About A.P. Dillon 1293 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_