Gov. Mike Dunleavy has joined 24 fellow Republican governors in asking the Biden administration to rescind its proposed rule change to Title IX that would prohibit any policies which “categorically” bar self-identified transgender students from participating on sports teams of the opposite sex.
The letter, signed on May 12, comes just 10 days after the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA), which oversees high school athletic competitions in Alaska, refused to bar gender-confused biological males from competing in girls’ sports, unless compelled to do so by the state. Pressure is now on Dunleavy’s Department of Education to change current state regulations to compel the ASAA to change its bylaws governing high school sports.
Recent attempts to protect girls’ sports have failed to pass through the Alaska Legislature. Led by Sen. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) the legislation has died in committee.
But across the nation, many other states have passed laws barring transgender students from participating on sports teams that are inconsistent with their biological sex.
“Finally, defending the many hard-fought, athletic achievements over the last half century is far more than a matter of safety for female athletes. It also protects essential fairness.”
The governors’ letter, sent to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, argues that the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulation change should be withdrawn because it coerces “compliance with an uncertain, fluid, and completely subjective standard that is based on a highly politicized gender ideology.”
The governors letter blasted the proposal as a gross overreach of federal power.
“Leaving aside the Department’s utter lack of authority to promulgate such a regulation, neither states nor schools should be subjected to such a fluid and uncertain standard,” the letter states. “Nor, most importantly, should the historic advancements and achievements of our sisters, mothers, and daughters be erased.”
The governors argue that the Biden administration’s changes not only cause confusion for schools, but it is also coercively threatens to withhold federal funding for schools that don’t comply with a “completely subjective standard that is based on a highly politicized gender ideology.”
“Most troubling, the proposed regulation would turn the purpose of Title IX on its head and threaten the many achievements of women in athletics,” the governors’ letter states. “The proposed regulation lacks foundation in established law. It includes terms not found in Title IX in an attempt to expand Title IX’s clear language beyond Congress’ intent.”
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The 1972 Title IX actually prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex alone, and applies to all schools, universities and other educational entities that accept federal funding. The intent is to expand opportunities for biologically female athletes.
“The plain language used in Title IX does not allow the sweeping rewrites of Title IX that the Department persists in seeking,” the governors argue. “It is undisputed that Title IX prohibits discrimination ‘on the basis of sex.’”
By expanding “sex” to include “gender” the governors maintain that the Biden Administration has introduced a fluid and shifting notion that compels schools to adopt a “subjective, athlete-by-athlete analysis controlled by a student’s self-identified ‘gender identity.’”
“This ‘fluid’ subjective standard ensures chaos and confusion in schools and will no doubt result in protracted and disruptive litigation,” the letter argues. “Finally, defending the many hard-fought, athletic achievements over the last half century is far more than a matter of safety for female athletes. It also protects essential fairness.”