Female student athlete, teacher association challenge Biden admin. over Title IX rule changes

Athletes compete in the 5,000-meter final during the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field on April 23, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon.
Athletes compete in the 5,000-meter final during the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field on April 23, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. | Getty Images/Steph Chambers

A West Virginia student-athlete is challenging the Biden administration's regulations amending Title IX civil rights law to define sex discrimination as including gender identity and sexual orientation. 

The Alliance Defending Freedom tweeted on Monday that they are representing a 15-year-old female track runner named Adelia, who it alleges lost out on opportunities because she was forced to compete against a biological male.

“Adaleia has also endured that student’s vulgar, sexual comments while on the team,” the legal group stated. “Under Biden’s rule changes to #TitleIX, males who identify as female can access girls’ sports and locker rooms across the country, threatening privacy and safety.”

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The ADF is also representing Christian Educators Association International, a teacher association, as part of the new challenge to the Title IX regulations, which were finalized last month.

The legal group filed a memorandum in support of a motion to intervene in the case of State of Tennessee v. Cardona in which six states (Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and West Vriginia) sued the Biden administration over the Title IX rule change. 

Miquel Cardona, secretary of the United States Department of Education, is the named defendant in the case.

“Intervenors have a strong interest to defend state laws and school policies that protect them. Their constitutional and statutory rights are also at stake,” stated the memorandum.

“Students, teachers, and female athletes experience the on-the-ground harms inflicted by the Department’s rewrite of Title IX. Intervenors also raise common questions of law and fact and their intervention will not cause undue delay or prejudice.”

The motion argues that redefining sex discrimination to include gender identity “won’t just affect state funding and preempt state laws” but also “means young girls will be forced to undress in front of boys in gym class, teenage girls will share bedrooms with teenage boys on overnight school trips, teachers and students will refrain from speaking about gender identity, and girls will fall behind in sports again.”

On April 29, the Department of Education released a final rule, scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1, which defines Title IX’s ban on “sex discrimination” to include “sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”

The Education Department’s final rule argues that the measures “aim to fulfill Title IX's protection for students, teachers, and other employees in federally funded elementary schools and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions against all forms of sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment and sexual violence.”

“The final regulations will help to ensure that all students receive appropriate support when they experience sex discrimination and that recipients' procedures for investigating and resolving complaints of sex discrimination are fair to all involved,” stated the final rule.

“These final regulations also better account for the variety of recipients and education programs or activities covered by Title IX and provide discretion and flexibility for recipients to account for variations in school size, student populations, and administrative structures.”  

Although the U.S. Department of Education claims that the new regulations do not apply to participation on athletic teams as it plans to issue a separate "final rule" to address sex-segregated sports in Title IX, the attorneys general of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina refuted that claim in an 84-page lawsuit. 

The attorneys general contend that the department's redefinition of sex discrimination under Title IX apply to sex-segregated facilities despite a regulation allowing them. 

"It applies that new definition because it thinks the restroom regulation is invalid to the extent it requires all students to use the restroom that corresponds to their biological sex," the lawsuit stated. "But the Department thinks the exact same thing about the regulation governing same-sex athletics. In other words, the Department claims to permit women's sports, so long as women's sports are open to men."

"The rule thus requires — or will predictably coerce — schools to allow biological males to compete on athletic teams for women or girls, denying female students equal athletic opportunities, playing time, and fair competition," the suit continued. "And it concededly affects sports by changing the rule for sex-separated locker rooms." 

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