Joe Biden inks order allowing transgender athletes to compete with girls, slammed for 'destroying women sports'
Joe Biden’s presidential tenure kicked off on Wednesday, January 20, and just hours after assuming the office, he signed an anti-discrimination executive order that many believe would force schools to include transgender athletes in girls’ sports and eventually discriminate against girls.
The order, called Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, says “children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports”. It also added that the Biden administration will work towards preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of “gender identity or sexual orientation”.
The new president stressed that such anti-discrimination policies are “enshrined in the country’s anti-discrimination laws” and in sync with a SCOTUS ruling from 2020 that bars “discrimination on the basis of someone’s gender identity”. It is now speculated that public schools will have their funding pulled if they disallowed transgender female athletes from competing in girls’ sporting disciplines.
Associated Press reported last week that transgender athletes were set for a change in their favor once Biden took over as the 46th president when it came to their participation in high school and college sports although legislatures in states, Congress and the courts were expected to chip in with their opinions as well. Attorneys on both sides said they expect Biden’s education department to switch sides in a couple of legal battles -- in Connecticut and Idaho -- determining whether transgender athletes are treated by their sex as mentioned or their birth certificates or by the way they identify.
The report also mentioned that a debate on the matter was expected in the state houses. Last year, bills to restrict transgender athletes from taking part to their gender as assigned at the time of birth were brought up in as many as 17 states but only one -- Idaho -- saw it becoming law. Ultimately, it could be on the Congress to decide whether Title IX (a 1972 federal law) which prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program, protects or restricts the participation of transgender females in women’s sports, AP cited Elizabeth Sharrow, an associate professor of public policy, University of Massachusetts, as saying.
“I think if they do that, lawmakers at the state level can propose laws, but it doesn’t mean those proposals are going to be taken seriously in the legislative bodies they serve in or that if the state passes those laws anyway that they would necessarily be considered legitimate,” she said, adding: “The courts will sort that out.”
'Allowing males to enter our spirts isn't fair'
“Allowing males to enter our sports isn’t fair,” Madison Kenyon, a cross-country runner at Idaho recently told AP. “It changes everything because it eliminates the connection between an athlete's effort and her success. Idaho’s law helps make sure that, when women like me work hard, that hard work pays off, and we have a shot at winning.”
During his presidential campaign, Biden displayed his commitment towards restoring transgender students’ access to sports, locker rooms and bathrooms at par with their gender identity.
The different take on the matter at state (like Idaho) and the federal levels could lead to complications in the future, Chase Strangio, American Civil Liberties Union deputy director for transgender justice, cautioned while speaking to AP. “States that like Idaho attempt to bar trans girls from girls sports, regardless of age of transition, medical intervention or anything else, with a new federal administration, will now be risking lawsuits by the federal government, Justice Department intervention and the loss of federal funding,” he said.
In Connecticut, the previous Donald Trump administration intervened to back a lawsuit that was filed by several non-transgender girls in the state who sought to block a state policy allowing transgender athletes’ access to compete as per their given identity. The plaintiffs complained that transgender female runners had an unfair physical advantage.
Christiana Holcomb, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, also aired caution over the forthcoming move in favor of the transgender athletes taking part in women’s sports to tell AP: “I think that is extremely concerning for the future of women’s sports and would reverse nearly 50 years of gains for women under Title IX.”
Twitterati divided over Biden's transgender athletes move
Biden’s order has already left the virtual world split. While the advocates of transgender rights welcomed it, others felt it could harm the females, even if unintentionally.
Author Abigail Shrier slammed the move to say on Twitter: “On day 1, Biden unilaterally eviscerates women's sports. Any educational institution that receives federal funding must admit biologically-male athletes to women's teams, women’s scholarships, etc. A new glass ceiling was just placed over girls.”
Erielle Davidson, senior policy analyst at The Jewish Institute for National Security of America, tweeted: “Sad day for women's sports. Women must compete against biological males at the risk of injury and loss of title, thanks to a new Biden executive order. Don't ever tell me this is 'pro-woman.' It's not. It's destructive and malicious." In another tweet, she added, "Biden’s recent executive order destroying women’s sports under the banner of feminism is exactly why I’m not a feminist.
On day 1, Biden unilaterally eviscerates women's sports. Any educational institution that receives federal funding must admit biologically-male athletes to women's teams, women's scholarships, etc.— Abigail Shrier (@AbigailShrier) January 21, 2021
A new glass ceiling was just placed over girls.https://t.co/cGWZqDpxl8
Sad day for women’s sports. Women must compete against biological males at the risk of injury and loss of title, thanks to a new Biden executive order. Don’t ever tell me this is “pro-woman.” It’s not. It’s destructive and malicious.— Erielle Davidson (@politicalelle) January 21, 2021
Biden’s recent executive order destroying women’s sports under the banner of feminism is exactly why I’m not a feminist.— Erielle Davidson (@politicalelle) January 21, 2021
It was not long after Biden signed the controversial order that the hashtag #BidenErasedWomen started trending on Twitter. But there were also voices that spoke in favor of the president. LGBT activists hit back at the critics, saying the president was doing the right thing in creating a more inclusive society, something he pledged in his inaugural address on the Inauguration Day.
'I see #BidenErasedWomen trending so seems like a good time to remind everyone that trans people have been around in every recorded culture. Biden has simply said that he's not going to allow people like me to be discriminated against for using female toilets, as we've always done,” transgender writer Paris Lees tweeted.
I see #BidenErasedWomen trending so seems like a good time to remind everyone that trans people have been around in every recorded culture. Biden has simply said that he’s not going to allow people like me to be discriminated against for using female toilets, as we’ve always done pic.twitter.com/H9zCy7MW4R— Paris Lees (@parislees) January 21, 2021
Brett Weinstein, a biologist and evolutionary theorist, criticized the move saying in a Twitter post: "It’s not possible to provide protections for women if a man can declare himself a women and access the same protections. That’s not an opinion. That is a logical fact. Evolution endowed the sexes differently. Protections for women are just and must be defended #BidenErasedWomen."
It’s not possible to provide protections for women if a man can declare himself a women and access the same protections. That’s not an opinion. That is a logical fact.— Bret Weinstein (@BretWeinstein) January 21, 2021
Evolution endowed the sexes differently. Protections for women are just and must be defended.#BidenErasedWomen
According to Transathlete, 16 states have friendly policies that help facilitate full inclusion of trans/non-binary/GNC (gender non-conforming) students in high school athletics’. They are: California, Oregon, Minnesota, Washington state, Connecticut and New York.