Op eds

This op-ed by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) first appeared in Newsweek on May 1, 2024. 

Title IX has helped make the United States home to some of the highest educated, most athletically dominant women on the planet. But that won't stop the Biden administration from destroying Title IX to appease the most radical members of its party.

Before the Biden administration announced its new rule, Title IX had one purpose: to ensure women and girls have equal access to publicly funded educational opportunities. It didn't matter if that education took place in an elementary classroom or an NCAA basketball court; the purpose of Title IX was to protect opportunities for women and girls to learn and grow in a safe environment.

The Biden administration, however, appears to think women have had enough success.

Under its new rule, President Biden's Department of Education has abandoned accepted ideas of sex and gender to single-handedly interpret Title IX as protecting students from discrimination based on "gender identity." Schools must now allow students to participate in any "activity consistent with their gender identity," as asserted by the students themselves, or risk facing a discrimination lawsuit.

This will open up schools to lawsuits if they forbid biological boys from using girls' restrooms or locker rooms. The same will be true for schools that ban biological boys from the girls' health or physical education classes.

Put differently, Title IX will no longer protect women based on their immutable physical characteristics. Instead, activists can weaponize Title IX to force schools to prioritize the comfortable education of the boy with gender dysphoria above the academic and emotional well-being of the dozens of girls who would rather not share a locker room or learn about puberty alongside biological boys.

President Biden's new rule defeats the purpose of Title IX. By interpreting Title IX to be about protecting "gender identity" instead of physical gender, President Biden will place countless women and girls in uncomfortable—or even unsafe—learning environments.

The Biden administration is unperturbed. It dismissed the concerns of parents who don't want their daughters to share a bathroom with a biological man by denying that the "mere presence of a transgender person in a single-sex space compromises anyone's legitimate privacy interest."

Put down the bong.

It may be President Biden's belief that little girls do not have a legitimate privacy interest in only sharing restrooms with other women and girls, but common sense and most Americans disagree.

The Biden administration's Title IX rule will also require language restrictions, mandated by the federal government, on any teacher who wishes to use grammatically correct pronouns. Under the new rule, any teacher who refers to a little boy as "he" instead of "they" in a way that the federal government finds objectively offensive will trigger a lawsuit for discrimination. Grammar teachers might as well cancel the lesson on pronouns now.

I have empathy for the small percentage of young people who suffer from gender dysphoria. Those students deserve to receive a quality education, too. We cannot, however, prioritize the comfort of a small set of gender dysphoric students over the safety, education and opportunities of all women and girls.

Title IX has protected women and girls for more than 50 years. President Biden ought to hide his head in a bag if he allows his administration to destroy decades of progress for women by turning Title IX into a weapon that his party can use to tear apart schools that don't support these anti-women gender policies.