DeSantis Administration Vows to Fight Biden’s Pro-Trans Rule in Girls’ Sports

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
April 7, 2023Politics
DeSantis Administration Vows to Fight Biden’s Pro-Trans Rule in Girls’ Sports
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions from the media in the Florida Cabinet following his "State of the State" address at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., on March 7, 2023. (Cheney Orr/AFP via Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has sharply criticized the Biden administration’s proposed new regulations that would ban schools from enforcing prohibitions on biological males who identify as females from competing in girls’ sports.

The Biden administration on Thursday proposed a new Title IX rule that would make school policies illegal if they “categorically ban transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity,” according to the released fact sheet by the Department of Education.

The proposed rule is a direct challenge to laws in about 20 states, including Florida, that ban trans-identifying males from female sports.

The rule is expected to be challenged in court, with Manny Diaz Jr., Florida’s Commissioner of Education, issuing a blistering criticism and suggesting that legal action will come.

“This is a sad, pathetic attempt from a completely inept administration to force their woke worldview on the rest of us,” Diaz said in a statement. “Since Joe Biden can’t get Congress or the Supreme Court to rubberstamp his radical gender ideology, he’s resorted to bullying America’s students through the federal bureaucracy.”

“Good luck–this won’t fly in Florida,” Diaz continued, adding, “We will never allow boys to play in girls’ sports. We will fight this overreach tooth and nail.”

DeSantis has championed a ban on biological males who identify as female from participating in women’s and girls’ sports.

The Florida governor has argued that the prohibition is a way to preserve the integrity of female sports. DeSantis’ transgender-athlete ban has been challenged in court and the case remains ongoing.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem took to Twitter on Thursday to say that her state would, like Florida, fight the Biden administration’s new transgender-athlete rule.

“South Dakota will not allow this to stand. We will lead. We will defend our laws. Only girls will play girls’ sports. President Biden, we’ll see you in court,” Noem said in the tweet.

Details of Biden Admin’s Transgender Athlete Rule

Under the proposed rule, schools and colleges across the United States would be forbidden from enacting blanket bans on transgender athletes, with some leeway allowed.

“The proposed rule would provide schools with a framework for developing eligibility criteria that protects students from being denied equal athletic opportunity, while giving schools the flexibility to develop their own participation policies,” the fact sheet states.

The rule recognizes that in some schools—in particular in competitive high school and college sports environments—administrators may adopt policies that limit participation of transgender athletes.

Criteria that must be taken into account for schools to lawfully adopt transgender-athlete restrictions under the new rule include prevention of sports-related injuries and ensuring fairness in competition while minimizing harms to transgender students who would be denied the opportunity to participate in sports consistent with their gender identity.

Generally, the Education Department expects that, under the new rule, elementary school students would, on the whole, be allowed to take part in sports consistent with how they identify in terms of gender.

“For older students, especially at the high school and college level, the Department expects that sex-related criteria that limit participation of some transgender students may be permitted, in some cases, when they enable the school to achieve an important educational objective, such as fairness in competition, and meet the proposed regulation’s other requirements,” the Department stated in the fact sheet.

The draft rule must undergo a period of public comment and, if finalized, it would become enshrined as a provision of Title IX, legislation enacted decades ago requiring schools to provide equal opportunities for women in U.S. education programs.

Specifically, Title IX prohibits sex discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funding.

Some critics have argued that the proposed rule would discriminate against female athletes.

Christiana Kiefer, a senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that the proposed rule is a “slap in the face to female athletes who deserve equal opportunity to compete in their sports.”

“The Department of Education’s rewriting of Title IX degrades women and tells them that their athletic goals and placements do not matter,” she continued.

“When society and the law try to ignore reality, people get hurt. In sports, it’s women and girls who pay the price,” she added.

Transgender women who take part in women’s sports are often bigger and stronger than their female counterparts and have an unfair advantage, critics say.

Terri Wu contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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