Dating back to the 1970s, women’s equality in sports has been protected under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This act prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities that receive federal funding or assistance. Recently, this promise of equality has disappeared.

On April 19, the Department of Education released a final rule that “coerces schools to allow biological males to compete in women’s sports or risk losing federal funds,” the U.S. Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions reported.

There has been a marked increase in male athletes who identify as female competing in female sports in the last 10 years.

Lia Thomas, born male and formerly known as Will, won the NCAA Division I national championship as an openly transgender male swimmer in March 2022. CeCe Telfer, a male runner who was formerly known as Craig, was applauded after winning an NCAA Division II national championship in the women’s division. Since then, natural-born males have not only participated in other female sports but are encouraged to do so.

Female athletes and coaches around the nation such as Riley Gaines, Paula Canlan, Macy Petty and Barbara Ehardt have adamantly spoken up about this issue and the DOE’s new rule.

Joining seven other advocates of this issue, they have begun the #TakeBackTitleIX tour hosted by the Our Bodies, Our Sports coalition. These courageous female athletes have been touring the nation since May 29 with hope of stirring advocacy and encouraging others to speak up against this injustice against women.

Supporting organization Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) stated on their website,

Title IX guarantees equal athletic opportunity for both sexes [emphasis in original]. But every time a biological male takes a roster spot on a women’s team or takes the field in a women’s sport, a female athlete loses an athletic opportunity. That’s sex discrimination, and it violates Title IX.

The DOE’s new rule takes effect on August 1. The #TakeBackTitleIX team advocates with a sense of urgency for people attending rallies to take action and submit comments, which are easily accessible on the IWF website.

Title IX was enacted to ensure that male and female students alike are treated with the same respect and equality in educational settings. This new rule hinders that equality immensely.

According to Alliance Defending Freedom, “similarly gifted and trained males have physical advantages over females from greater height and weight and larger, longer and stronger bones… larger muscles… [and] higher rates of metabolizing and releasing energy. All of which create an athletic edge over females.”

Title IX has changed the game and opened new doors for young girls and women, and not only in sports. It is about time to #TakeBackTitleIX in its original intent.

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