UNITED STATES NEWS

Biden sports plan angers transgender advocates, opponents

Apr 7, 2023, 11:45 AM

A Biden administration proposal to forbid outright bans on transgender athletes sparked outrage from conservative leaders while also angering trans rights activists who note schools could still prevent some athletes from participating on teams that align with their gender identity.

The violate Title IX, the landmark gender-equity legislation enacted in 1972. But schools could still adopt policies that limit transgender students’ participation, particularly in more competitive high school and college sports.

Under the proposal, it would be much more difficult for schools to ban, for example, a transgender girl in elementary school from playing on a girls basketball team. But it would also leave room for schools to develop policies that prohibit trans athletes from playing on more competitive teams if those policies are designed to ensure fairness or prevent sports-related injuries.

Imara Jones, a trans woman who created “The Anti-Trans Hate Machine” podcast, said the proposal shows that President Joe Biden is attempting to “straddle the fence” on a human rights issue ahead of an election year by giving legal recourse to schools that bar some trans athletes from competition.

“The Biden Administration framed their proposal as a ban on blanket discrimination against trans athletes. But actually, it provides guidelines for how schools and universities can ban trans athletes legally,” Jones said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, also offered pointed criticism, saying in a tweet that the plan was “indefensible and embarrassing.”

Erin Reed, a prominent trans activist and researcher, said the proposal “alarmingly” echoes right-wing talking points, which argue that trans participation could increase injuries and take away scholarship opportunities from female athletes who are cisgender, meaning their gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. She worries school boards and lawmakers will use it to justify bans.

Extensive research is virtually nonexistent when it comes to determining whether adolescent trans girls have a clear athletic advantage over cisgender girls.

“I can’t read this any other way than a betrayal,” Reed said in a tweet. “This entire document is worse than doing nothing.”

Sean Ebony Coleman, a trans activist and founder of the LGBTQ+ center Destination Tomorrow in New York, said policymakers — particularly on a national level — need to completely rule out any option for trans people to be further ostracized.

“While it hypothetically prevents across-the-board bans, it offers enough gray area for discrete gender policing and demonization to occur, specifically on a local level,” Coleman said.

Still, some transgender athletes welcomed the proposal as an important first step toward protecting trans kids’ access to sports.

“I would love to see protections expanded to include elite and collegiate sports, but this seems like a good start,” said Iszac Henig, a trans man and competitive swimmer at Yale University. “Trans athletes should have the ability to compete on the team of their choice if their athletic skills allow it.”

Doriane Coleman, a law professor at Duke University, said the proposal allows for schools that receive federal funding to “still choose to have male and female sports teams” and makes sense compared with the “one-size-fits-all approach” found in some states.

“You wouldn’t be able to make the same argument for kindergarten or elementary school sport that you can make for elite high school and college sport under this two-part test,” Coleman said.

A way that the federal government, states and advocacy groups can avoid “piecemeal legislation” is by making clear “there is a body of evidence to support generalizable sex-specific eligibility standards for each sport at each level of development,” she said.

The proposal was quickly assailed by many Republican leaders who said they were ready to fight the plan in court.

“South Dakota will not allow this to stand,” Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted. “We will lead. We will defend our laws.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued a statement suggesting the state might also try to challenge the federal rule. Alabama lawmakers in 2021 approved legislation that bans trans women and girls from participating on female sports team in K-12 schools. It was also one of 20 states that filed a lawsuit in 2021 seeking to halt directives that extend federal sex discrimination protections to LGBTQ+ people.

“I have made myself abundantly clear to the Biden Administration that he will NOT impose his radical policies on Alabama athletes. He will NOT destroy athletic competition for our young women & girls. In Alabama our law protects girls’ sports. Stay tuned!” Marshall said in a statement.

The public will have 30 days to comment on the proposal after it is published in the Federal Register. After that, the U.S. Department of Education will review the comments and decide whether any changes are needed before issuing a final rule.

___

Murphy reported from Oklahoma City, and Schoenbaum reported from Raleigh, N.C. Associated Press writers Carole Feldman in Washington, D.C., Erica Hunzinger in Denver, Kimberly Chandler in Montgomery, Ala., Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Conn., and John Hanna in Topeka, Kan., contributed.

United States News

FILE - Lawyer Kenneth Chesebro is sworn in during a plea deal hearing, Oct. 20, 2023, at the Fulton...

Associated Press

Takeaways from the Wisconsin 2020 fake electors lawsuit settlement

More than 1,400 pages of emails, text messages and other documents released Monday reveal details of a strategy by Republican operatives tied to then-President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Wisconsin. The documents — settling a civil lawsuit filed against two attorneys and 10 Wisconsin Republicans who posed as fake electors — […]

57 minutes ago

Associated Press

A judge orders prison for a Michigan man who made threats against Jewish people

A 20-year-old Michigan man who admitted using social media to make violent threats against Jewish people was sentenced Monday to a year and a day in prison, far short of what prosecutors had recommended. A sentence exceeding a year makes someone eligible for good conduct credits and a shorter stay in federal custody. Seann Pietila, […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Venus flytrap poachers arrested in taking of hundreds of rare plant

BOILING SPRING LAKES, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina have arrested two people in a case of poaching hundreds of Venus flytraps, which grow naturally in the eastern part of the state. Officers with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission obtained arrest warrants for two people accused of stealing nearly 600 of the rare […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

New Hampshire man who triggered Amber Alert held without bail in death of his children’s mother

A New Hampshire man accused of abducting his children after killing their mother was ordered held without bail Monday. Dustin Mark Duren, 37, was charged with second-degree murder Friday in the death of Caitlyn Naffziger, 31. Police had issued an Amber Alert after finding Naffziger dead in an apartment in Berlin, and Duren was arrested […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

The owners of a Christian boarding school in Missouri are jailed and charged with kidnapping crimes

The husband and wife owners of a Missouri boarding school for boys have been jailed and charged with felony crimes after a lengthy investigation by a county sheriff. Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch said in a news release that Larry Musgraves Jr., 57, was arrested Friday evening on the ABM Ministries campus in Piedmont, a […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Federal safety officials say Boeing fails to meet quality-control standards in manufacturing

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday its audit of manufacturing at airplane-maker Boeing and its key supplier turned up “multiple instances” of them failing to make sure manufacturing met quality standards. The FAA said that it found “non-compliance issues” with Boeing’s manufacturing-process control and parts handling and storage. It did not provide details. The FAA […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Biden sports plan angers transgender advocates, opponents