The Biden administration is set to issue a new interpretation of Title IX that embraces transgender ideology, going even further than President Obama did. The new rule will redefine “sex” under Title IX to include “gender identity.” This is not only contrary to what Congress clearly intended, it will also harm children and violate parental rights.
Redefining the word “sex” in Title IX in the new Biden administration rule will pressure schools to mislead emotionally distressed children into thinking they can change their sex. Schools could face investigation if they do not address students who are confused about their sex with pronouns and names that correspond to the opposite sex or to the concept of being “non-binary.”
It could even mandate “gender support plans,” which challenge the truth that we are born male and female, and erroneously suggest that a doctor “assigns” a child’s sex after the child is born. Schools often develop these plans without informing parents or asking for their consent. Some schools even lie to parents about the existence of these plans. The implementation of such plans in schools from coast-to-coast is directly undermining the vital role that parents play in guiding children’s education and health care decisions.
In Virginia, Harrisonburg City Public Schools tell staff to disregard and even mislead parents when teachers and staff are treating and addressing their child as though he or she were the opposite sex. In Wisconsin, one school district implemented a “gender support plan” that deceives parents, while another school district openly defied parents’ express wishes.
In California, schools encourage children to “secretly transition” and deliberately interfere with the parent-child relationship, sometimes with devastating consequences. Abigail Martinez, a California mom, says a Los Angeles school convinced her daughter Yaeli to identify as a boy named Andrew and advocated that she be removed from her mother’s home in order to facilitate her use of cross-sex hormones. While in foster care, Yaeli tragically committed suicide.
Directing the upbringing and education of their children according to parents’ values has long been accepted as a fundamental right. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized 50 years ago in Wisconsin v. Yoder that “[the] primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.” But this enduring American tradition is now under siege.
There have been well-publicized efforts to better protect parental rights against school policies that facilitate the social transition of a child without parents consenting or even knowing about it. The Florida Parental Rights in Education Bill prohibited schools from withholding information from parents about their child’s mental or emotional well-being. And Arizona strengthened the ability of parents to obtain judicial relief when their right to direct the care and upbringing of their child is violated.
The original intent of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was to address challenges and discrimination that females historically faced in educational pursuits. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of “sex” and, when enacted, there was no question in anyone’s mind that “sex” referred only to whether one was male or female. For five decades, Title IX has served its true purpose, enabling girls and women across our nation to break through longstanding barriers to rise to the highest levels of success in business, academia, and politics.
The Biden administration is incorrectly claiming that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County means “sex” must include gender identity. However, in Bostock, the high court explicitly limited its redefinition of sex to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination. The court’s opinion specifically stated that its ruling did not apply to other federal laws, including Title IX.
These new efforts by politicians and schools to dilute and distort the term “sex” to include a subjective sense of “gender identity” only harm women, children, and parents, and our society as a whole.
Children who experience feelings of confusion or discomfort with their bodies need to be protected from the irreversible damage that results from social and medical interventions on their young minds and bodies. They need compassion and understanding. They need wise counsel and the truth.
They need their parents. Parents love and know their children best, and it is their fundamental right to help their children make decisions about their physical and mental health.
The truth is that there are only two “sexes.” Adults, youth, and children who suffer from gender dysphoria deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and great compassion, but no child is born in the wrong body. Schools should not encourage students to treat their bodies as a mistake.
All children need protection, and redefining “sex” under Title IX (or any other statute) will endanger them. In most cases, children need the protection of their parents, not protection from their parents.
Erroneously redefining “sex” to include gender identity will hasten the spread of secretive “gender support plans,” which, at their core, undermine parental rights. Parents should, therefore, proceed with caution, as this signals that a monumental parental rights battle looms ahead.
Sharon Supp is a researcher with Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal).