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OPINION

Biden’s Title IX Changes Destroy Fair Athletic Competition for Women

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AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

It’s one of the more ridiculous developments of the past several years (and that’s saying something): the far left deciding to force a radical gender identity ideology down Americans’ throats by allowing males to dominate and destroy women’s sports. But from the White House down, activists are doing just that—and they are trying to make it illegal to disagree with them.

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The Biden administration is pushing right now to unilaterally redefine “sex” in the federal civil rights law known as Title IX to include “gender identity.” This may seem like a trivial change, but if the administration succeeds, women’s sports—and the female athletes who compete in them—don’t stand a chance.

We already have a good idea about what happens when males are allowed to compete in female sports. Spoiler: it’s exactly what you think. They win.

High school athlete Chelsea Mitchell was one of the fastest girls in Connecticut. She should have felt confident and excited going into the state championship race in February 2019, but instead, she was anxious—two of her competitors were male athletes. Connecticut allows athletes to choose their sports based on their “gender identity,” which means that female athletes often go head-to-head with males in women’s competitions. In 2019, Chelsea knew that many of her fellow female athletes had lost to these males, but she was committed to giving the race her all, and she hoped she could overcome the unfair odds to win.

That year, the odds were too great. Chelsea Mitchell placed third in state in the 55-meter dash—right behind the two male athletes. Overall, Chelsea lost four girls’ state championships and two all-New England awards to males.

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That is just one athlete, in one state. The ripple effect of allowing even one male to compete in female sports is huge. Starting in 2017, first one and then two males began competing in Connecticut girls’ track. In just three years (2017, 2018, and 2019), they took 15 women’s state track championship titles. In 2016, nine different girls held those titles. Overall, female athletes in Connecticut lost out on more than 85 opportunities to advance in competition because of these two males.

Permitting male athletes to compete in women’s sports will, quite simply, make women’s sports meaningless. On average, males are physically bigger, faster, and stronger than females. They have 36 percent more skeletal muscle mass and have greater lung capacity. These physical advantages result in a 10-15 percent performance advantage over comparably fit, trained, and aged female athletes. In competitive athletics, that’s an overwhelming margin.

And testosterone suppression does not level the playing field. Consider, for example, the male powerlifter who set multiple world records in women’s powerlifting—even after undergoing eleven months of testosterone suppression. Or consider the male swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania, who swam the 1,650-meter freestyle event 38 seconds faster than the second-place (female) athlete. Thomas previously swam on the University of Pennsylvania male team and underwent more than two years of testosterone suppression, but still shattered school records and boxed many female athletes out of victory—prompting a USA Swimming official to step down in protest over Thomas’ competition in female sports, saying that allowing males to compete in women’s swimming is destroying the sport.

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Female athletes across the country have taken a stand for their sports. Chelsea Mitchell and three of her fellow female athletes filed a lawsuit with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom against Connecticut’s unfair rules. Their case is currently waiting at a federal appellate court. Madison Kenyon and Mary Kate Marshall spoke out when the ACLU tried to stop their home state of Idaho from protecting women’s sports. Through the organization Save Women’s Sports, female athletes from across the political spectrum are speaking out, asking leaders to preserve women’s right to fair competition.

Women’s sports as we know them today were founded in 1972, when Title IX was passed to protect women from discrimination on the basis of sex. Now in 2022, they may be on their last legs. The founder of Save Women’s Sports put it perfectly when she said, “If biological men are allowed to compete in women’s sports, there will be men’s sports, there will be co-ed sports, but there will no longer be women’s sports.” That is precisely where the Biden administration is trying to force us all to go. By redefining “sex” to include “gender identity,” the Biden administration will make it illegal for schools, states, and sports leagues to protect women’s sports. Any American who values fair play should speak up in defense of women’s sports and the right to fair competition for everyone.

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Christiana Kiefer is senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal).

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