The Department of Education waded into the culture wars when its proposed draft rule on transgender individuals’ participation in sports was announced. The proposed rule title is, “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance: Sex-Related Eligibility Criteria for Male and Female Athletic Teams” and it came from the department’s controversial Office of Civil Rights (OCR).
The rule said, that under the department’s interpretation of Title IX (a federal law that mandates non-discrimination), no athlete could be barred from participating in many athletic activities due to their sex or gender identity. But it allegedly allows some wiggle room for school districts to “adopt policies that limit transgender students’ participation” in high school or college levels.
Yet, for the most part, the federal department is threatening to withhold federal funding from school districts in states that have barred transgender individuals from participating in athletic activities that do not match their gender at birth. For example, if a state like Texas barred transgender females (i.e. biological males who have declared their gender identity as female) from participating in female sports like track and field, then the school districts in that state could lose federal funding.
The department’s rule could affect at least 19 states, which have instituted laws that prohibit transgender individuals from participating in athletic activities (i.e. teams or competitions) that do not match their gender at birth.
The proposed rule is not official because it has to be officially published and then be posted online for public comment for 30 days, where anyone can comment on the rule. After the public comment period is over, the department will review the comments and decide whether to go forward to finalize the rule.
For context, the department’s OCR was used by the Obama administration to force colleges and universities who received federal funding under Title IX to create kangaroo courts, meaning no due process for the accused. Now, it looks like the Biden administration is using the same office to continue its history of controversial politics and policy-making.