The Washington Examiner reports that the administration of President Joe Biden just proposed a new rule that would allow school students to participate in sports activities based on their so-called gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
Biden, in doing so, is placing himself and his administration in direct opposition to Republican-led states that have sought, in particular, to ban biological males from competing in girl's sports.
Biden's proposed rule change is part of Title IX. The proposal can be read in its entirety here.
The summary of the proposal states:
The U.S. Department of Education (Department) proposes to amend its regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) to set out a standard that would govern a recipient’s adoption or application of sex-related criteria that would limit or deny a student’s eligibility to participate on a male or female athletic team consistent with their gender identity.
That's a rather long-winded way of saying that the Biden administration will cut off funding from schools that do not allow students to participate in sports based on their preferred gender.
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE), in a statement that it released alongside the proposal, makes the above point clear.
The statement reads:
One-size-fits-all policies that categorically ban transgender students from participating in athletics consistent with their gender identity across all sports, age groups, and levels of competition would not satisfy the proposed regulation.
The DOE goes on to claim that "such bans fail to account for differences among students across grade and education levels" and for "different levels of competition."
For a school policy to be upheld under Biden's proposed rule, it would have to be "substantially related to the achievement of an important educational objective" and it would have to be designed so as to "minimize harms to students."
It's a fairly high bar meet.
Before the rule is implemented, there will be a 30-day period during which the public can comment on the rule.
DOE Secretary Miguel Cardona put out a statement, saying:
Beyond all the benefits to physical and mental health, playing on a team teaches students how to work hard, get along with others, believe in themselves, and build healthy habits that last a lifetime. Today's proposed rule is designed to support Title IX's protection for equal athletics opportunity.
"We welcome and encourage public comment on the proposed regulation and will continue working to ensure Title IX's effective protection for all students," Cardona said.
As mentioned at the outset, a legal showdown on this issue, between the Biden administration and Republican-led states, now seems inevitable.