Parent, education groups send letter to DOE after proposed Title IX rule on transgender athletes
More than 20 states prohibit transgender students from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identities
A group of 25 parent and education organizations sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona over concerns with the Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX related to transgender students' participation in sports.
The coalition of organizations wrote on behalf of 397,494 total members, according to the letter obtained by Fox News Digital.
The letter pushes back against the department's proposed rule prohibiting schools from banning transgender students from participating on sports teams aligning with their gender identities.
"We oppose the Department’s efforts to coerce schools into allowing transgender athletes to participate on the team of their self-professed gender identity on the grounds that these changes will negatively impact the mental and physical well-being of biologically female student athletes, and also harm both parental rights and federalism – as well as the budgets of federal, state, and local education agencies across the country," the letter reads.
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Under the proposed rule, schools and colleges would not be allowed to enact blanket bans preventing transgender students from competing on sports teams corresponding with their gender identities. Some exceptions would be permitted, particularly if the exceptions would ensure fairness or prevent sports-related injuries.
Schools could determine what is right for them under the proposed rule by considering the sport and grade and education level. The DOE expects elementary school students to generally be able to participate on sports teams matching their gender identities, but anticipates more bans when it comes to high school and college athletics.
"Although the Department of Education cites 'fairness' and 'safety' in its proposed changes, the notice of proposed rulemaking, to use a common phrase, ‘ignores the science.' It is clearly established that male and female bodies have different physiological traits – including but not limited to bone structure and muscle composition – which means that biological males participating in female athletics puts biological females at a higher risk for mental and physical setbacks from injury," the letter from the parent and education groups said. "As a result, such a change will significantly impede girls’ ability to seek awards and scholarships."
"All students deserve privacy and safety in sex-specific spaces such as locker rooms, restrooms, and medical facilities," the letter continues. "Female athletes should not be forced to ask for special accommodations because of their biological sex, and to put minor students in that position marginalizes their voices and preferences."
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More than 20 states prohibit transgender students from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identities. The letter argues that the proposed rule is an "overreach of executive power and an encroachment on federalism" as it contradicts states' existing laws on transgender girls participating in female sports.
"The executive branch’s explicit invalidation of duly enacted state laws stomps on the will of elected representatives across the country – and if such a sweeping change be desired at the federal level, it should be enacted through Congress and not by administrative fiat," the letter reads.
The letter contends that the proposed rule would infringe on parents' rights to dictate the upbringing of their children because it limits a family's ability to make informed decisions about their child’s safety and well-being in school sporting events.
The organizations also cited a July 2022 survey conducted by Parents Defending Education, a nonprofit group who signed the letter, that found 71% of respondents opposed requiring schools to allow transgender girls to participate on female sports teams.
"The Biden Administration's proposed overhaul of school athletics is deeply unpopular with American families, for good reason. It jeopardizes the safety of women and girls, violates their privacy, and reduces opportunities for scholarships and awards - not to mention the flagrant infringement upon states' rights," PDE President Nicole Neily said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "Thousands of Americans have already submitted comments in opposition to this proposed rule through PDE's comment portal - which is essential, as the Department only provided for a 30-day comment period."
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Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments was written to prevent exclusion on the basis of sex from education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.