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Capitol Hill panelists implore awareness, fight for original Title IX

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(The Center Square) – Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina considered the panel question and delivered, as often she does, a bottom-line answer for Title IX at passage 52 years ago and today.

The Republican noted the president was a fellow member of her party, Richard Nixon, and Congress was majority Democrats. Yet the civil rights law got bipartisan approval.

“That was a time,” she said, “when Democrats knew what the difference was between a man and a woman. I mean, times have changed.”

Even more than 37 words in the original to the Education Department’s 1,561 pages in 2024.

Thursday’s Capitol Hill audience for the panel discussion led by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., had chuckles, though not for the wrong reasons. They were joined by Betsy DeVos, former Secretary of Education in the Trump administration; Riley Gaines, 12-time All-American swimmer at Kentucky; and Heather Higgins, chairwoman of the Independent Women’s Forum.

Rep. Mary Miller, R-Illinois, emceed and introduced. Miller serves as vice chairwoman alongside chairwoman Foxx on the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Sunday was the 52nd anniversary of Nixon signing Title IX into law. The rewrite is scheduled to take effect Aug. 1, though it is halted in 10 states already by injunctions.

“He told us from his first day in office they were going to rewrite Title IX,” Johnson said of President Joe Biden. “They were going to dramatically revise it. That was an ominous warning, and they made good on it.”

An April fact sheet released by the U.S. Department of Education gave clarification to the proposed changes. Included, “The proposed rule would establish that policies violate Title IX when they categorically ban transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity just because of who they are.”

Gaines and Higgins said gender ideology is about more than sports. There are sororities on campuses, detransitioners with irreparable harm, and men going to prison choosing incarceration with women.

“If you’re a guy, why wouldn’t you choose to go be in a women’s prison instead of a men’s prison?” Higgins asked rhetorically.

Higgins said, “While the administration disingenuously claims that the new rule doesn’t apply to sports, they’ve established the default position that school activities limited to biological women or biological men are presumptively discriminatory.

“The administration has repeatedly insisted, in court filings and in public pronouncements, that Title IX requires schools to allow trans-identified males to play women’s sports. They can’t have it both ways. Either they use Title IX to force schools to allow men on women’s sports teams, or if they are not, then schools should stop the madness right now.”

Gaines has been a leader to save women’s sports, traveling the country and appearing in a number of state legislatures. She’s testified in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, too. More than that, she said, she’s realized how much her time as an athlete from age 4 to 22 prepared her for what is happening now much more so than it did as a swimmer.

“They are stripping all sex-based protections for women and girls – robbing women of equal opportunity, privacy, and fairness,” she said. “Equating ‘sex’ with ‘gender identity’ effectively abolishes the original intent of Title IX. This doesn’t enforce Title IX, it violates it.”

On June 13, a Louisiana judge stopped implementation of the Title IX rewrite in Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana and Idaho. On June 17, a Kentucky judge halted the rewrite in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

Also on June 13, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed a Congressional Review Act to nullify the new rule. It would, if passed, formally dispense “with the administration’s Title IX rule so that educational institutions can continue protecting the safety of women and girls and their access to educational opportunities.”

Johnson said it will get a floor vote next week.

“While the Biden administration has pushed progressive gender ideology to include biological men in women’s sports under Title IX, conservatives in the House are fighting to protect women’s right to compete,” Johnson said. “We will not stand by and tolerate the erosion of safe, fair, and equal competition in women’s sports.”

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