The Biden administration has declined a request by a feminist organization to affirm that Title IX regulations will be enforced based on biological sex, rather than a person’s self-identification as male, female, or anything else.
In February, the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) petitioned (pdf) the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to make a ruling on Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in education.
Specifically, they asked the OCR to affirm that the definition of “sex” under Title IX is strictly biological and does not apply to gender identity. They also wanted the “single-sex intimate facilities” in educational settings, such as school locker rooms and restrooms, to be provided on the basis of biological sex rather than a person’s belief about their sex.
The OCR declined those requests last week, referring to a pair of President Joe Biden’s executive orders that seek to expand Title IX coverage to gender identity.
One of the orders, signed in March, declares that “all students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, which encompasses sexual violence, and including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.” The other one, signed the first day of Biden’s presidency, states that it’s the new administration’s policy to make sure children are able to “learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”
“The Department is now engaging in the required review of its Title IX regulations to ensure that they are consistent with the Biden Administration’s executive orders,” Suzanne Goldberg, acting assistant secretary for OCR, wrote in response (pdf) to WoLF. This includes making certain that students who have experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity have their legal rights fully met.
WoLF noted in a statement that the Education Department, headed by Miguel Cardona, is taking steps to end single-sex spaces and single-sex sports by opening up women and girls competitions to biological males identifying as female.
Cardona, who was named Connecticut’s K-12 school chief in August 2020 before being tapped by Biden as his Education Secretary, was asked during his confirmation hearing by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) whether it worried him that Connecticut allows students who are male by birth to compete and claim titles in girls’ sports at the expense of biological girls.
“I believe schools should offer the opportunity for students to engage in extracurricular activities even if they’re transgender,” Cardona said at that time. “I think that’s their right.”