WASHINGTON — Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Title IX federal civil rights law, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is warning that President Joe Biden’s administration is hacking away at women’s progress in the name of gender equality.
Passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 and signed by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972, Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools or education programs that receive federal funding. The move opened up many opportunities for women and girls to achieve in both academics and in sports.
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” read the rule, co-authored by former Democratic Hawaii Rep. Patsy Matsu Mink, the first woman of color elected to Congress.
”It’s rare as a legislator that you fight for legislation you believe in and stay around or live long enough to see it come to fruition,” said Mink in 1995 as she met with top U.S. female basketball players. The former congresswoman passed away in 2002.
But the Biden administration recently announced plans to redefine sex to include “sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” This would ban discrimination based on gender identity, indicating that schools would be prevented from prohibiting biological males from participating in women’s sports.
And critics like Tuberville say the move directly contradicts the good accomplished for women through Title IX.
“The federal government, you know, we don’t get a lot right,” Tuberville, who coached Auburn University football for almost a decade, said during a phone interview with The Daily Wire. “But they got it right when they passed Title IX.”
The Alabama senator shared that he also previously coached girls high school basketball before his career as a football coach, saying that the Biden administration’s efforts will “be devastating to women’s sports.”
And most Americans won’t agree with this move, he added, suggesting that leftist activists and policy makers are focused on gender identity and “want everybody to kind of be pretty much the same.”
“They’re trying to destroy the family,” he said. “And so expanding the definition of sex is right up their alley, and by allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports, I think that’s trying to degrade women.”
Sarah Cowart, an academic coach who grew up playing sports in Alabama in middle and high school, told The Daily Wire that she started a girls soccer team in high school because her only other option was to play on the boys soccer team — and she knew that she wouldn’t stand a chance.
“I wasn’t going to get playing time just because I knew the difference of my size, their size, their skill and speed. It just wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t going to play,” she said. “And so I think that’s what we saw when we were able to start the women’s soccer team in high school that afforded us the opportunity to be on the same playing field with our peers.”
“When you go up against them, you are playing the hardest that you can,” Cowart explained. “And when you’re trying [your] hardest and you’re playing your hardest, but you still aren’t being successful, that kills your spirit and thinking, well, I just can’t do this at all.”
Cowart celebrated that Title IX had bestowed on her and her teammates the freedom to create and lead such a team.
“I think about it from a standpoint of accessibility,” she continued. “Had we not come together as girls, at our age, we wouldn’t have had that opportunity. We would have had to end up playing with the guys team on a JV level again.”
Controversy over biological males in women’s sports has escalated as transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male, competed in the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships this spring, annihilating competitors in the women’s 500 freestyle.
On Sunday, the International Swimming Federation (FINA), issued new restrictions on transgender swimmers, stating that only transgender swimmers who transitioned from male to female before age 12 may compete in women’s events.
“I’m very hopeful about it,” an anonymous teammate of Thomas told The Daily Wire on Tuesday of the new restrictions. That teammate was granted anonymity out of fear of backlash.
“I am incredibly happy that Lia Thomas will never be an Olympic gold medalist. I think that’s great. But this doesn’t actually fix the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association],” she added.
Both Thomas’ teammate and Riley Gaines, a University of Kentucky swimmer, said that they wish the NCAA would rescind Thomas’ championship title.
“I believe Lia is not the fastest female in the 500-yard freestyle, therefore I don’t think she should be awarded as a female national champion,” Gaines told The Daily Wire, adding that the NCAA “needs to take accountability.”
“FINA prioritized competitive fairness which is more than any other large governing body has done thus far,” Gaines said.
The Daily Wire’s Mairead Elordi contributed to this report.