House Republicans on Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of Title IX by calling for expanded protections of women’s sports against transgender athletes.
GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and members of the conservative Republican Study Committee held a round table with female athletes, who talked about the impact of competing with male-born athletes in girls’ sports.
“Fifty years after we made Title IX the law of the land, women’s sports are facing an existential threat,” Mr. McCarthy said. “There are so many things that are unfair about this new system. It erases women’s sports. It attacks American values like fair competition … and it creates a world where female athletes who speak out are actually bullied by their peers.”
The lawmakers at the roundtable included Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, as well as Reps. Greg Steube of Florida, Kat Cammack of Florida, Burgess Owens of Utah and Debbie Lesko of Arizona.
Title IX was passed in 1972 to prohibit sex-based discrimination in any school or education program that had received federal funding.
Several former and current high school female athletes discussed the issue, including Riley Gaines, who spoke out after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I national championship.
Ms. Gaines, who swims for the University of Kentucky, tied Ms. Thomas in the 200-yard freestyle for fifth place.
Several athletes criticized the Biden administration’s push for the inclusion of transgender athletes, arguing that it threatened and damaged the independence of women’s sports.
“We are the ones who these policies are impacting. We are the victims of this ideology,” said Macy Petty, who plays volleyball at Lee University in Tennessee.
Members also pledged to take swift action to pass bills to protect women’s sports if Republicans take the House majority in November.
“I think America needs to know where every member of Congress stands on this issue whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” said Mr. Steube, who introduced the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act.
Mr. Steube’s bill highlights that the language of sex in Title IX could be “recognized solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
The White House announced that it would make sweeping changes to Title IX to expand the rights of transgender individuals and roll back a Trump-era policy of due process protections in campus-assault cases.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the changes would add “sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics” to Title IX discrimination.
“I’ll continue to fight for the promise of Title IX — that every woman and girl can pursue her education and dreams free from discrimination, and every LGBTQI+ student is protected,” President Biden tweeted.
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