Joe Biden’s first day in office delivered an incremental victory for transgender athletes seeking to participate as their identified gender in high school and college sports.
Among the flurry of executive orders signed on Wednesday, Biden called on all federal agencies to enforce a US supreme court decision from last year that expanded the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation as well as gender identity – with language that explicitly referenced the arena of high school and college sports.
The order mandates that every agency must act to ensure the enforcement of this new rule within 100 days of 20 January.
States that fail to comply would risk legal action or the loss of federal education funding.
Last year, bills to restrict transgender athletes’ participation to their sex recorded at birth were introduced in 17 different US statehouses.
In Idaho, a law signed in March by the Republican governor, Brad Little, became the nation’s first to prohibit transgender students who identify as female from playing on female teams sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities. The legislation was overwhelmingly supported by the state’s Republican-dominated house and the Trump administration but blocked from implementation by a federal judge while a legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union and Legal Voice proceeds. The law, called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, is necessary because transgender female athletes have physical advantages.
Similar laws in other states have been funded by advocacy groups like Alliance Defending Freedom.
In Connecticut, the Trump administration intervened in support of a lawsuit filed by several non-transgender girls in Connecticut who were seeking to block a state policy that allows transgender athletes to compete in line with their identity. The plaintiffs rightly argued transgender female runners had an unfair physical advantage.
An early test case of Biden’s order may come in Montana, where on Thursday the state’s house judiciary commission voted by a 11-8 margin to advance a bill to the house floor that would prohibit transgender students from participating on school sports teams of the gender with which they identify.
Source: The Grio, Yahoo, The Guardian