Representatives and witnesses highlighted concerns for girls and women during a contentious hearing on Tuesday challenging the Biden administration’s proposed changes to Title IX, which would effectively broaden the definition of sex to include “gender identity.”
The proposed changes would rewrite Title IX in such a way that policies banning biological males who identify as trans from competing with or against females would now be in violation of law. Issuing such sex distinctions to protect girls sports, therefore, could strip a school of its funding. The rule would be applied to public K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions that receive federal funding.
The hearing opened with a rather fiery interaction between former NCAA swimmer-turned-advocate Riley Gaines and Democratic Rep. Summer Lee (PA), who preemptively suggested Gaines and other witnesses’ testimonies would be “transphobic” and filled with “hateful misinformation.”
“And Ranking Member Lee, if my testimony makes me transphobic, then I believe you’re opening monologue makes you a misogynist,” Gaines said in closing her opening statement.
Lee interrupted the next witness to ask to have Gaines’ words taken down. Gaines chimed in, “Can I just ask, how it’s fair to be called transphobic —” before Lee interjected, “I never called you anything.”
Lee was ultimately unsuccessful in her effort, as the point of order was withdrawn.
🚨BREAKING: After Democrat @RepSummerLee (D-PA) said @Riley_Gaines_ engages in "transphobic bigotry" by opposing boys in girls sports, Riley fired back by saying "if my testimony makes me transphobic then you are a misogynist."
Lee then moved to have her words taken down. pic.twitter.com/MdZRc4RgUM
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 5, 2023
Gaines and other witnesses argued that refusing to separate sports by sex harms women and girls; they cited studies showing the physical differences between males and females post-puberty, even after hormone treatments; argued that women and girls are losing out on scholarships and other opportunities; discussed the invasion of girls’ privacy in places like locker rooms; and noted female athletes who’ve been physically harmed by biologically male opponents.
“Not only do women have to worry about losing out on opportunities and being exploited in locker rooms, allowing men into women’s sports also puts girls at greater risk of injury,” Gaines said. “In September of last year, North Carolina volleyball player Payton McNabb suffered serious injury after a trans-identified male player spiked a ball at her head, rendering her unconscious. Payton experienced extensive trauma to her head and neck and long-term concussion symptoms. Still to this day, a year and three-ish months later, she is still partially paralyzed on her right side, her vision is impaired, and she isn’t playing college sports, like she had dreamed of.”
The Biden administration’s Title IX rewrite is a direct attack on women’s rights.@Riley_Gaines_ has more courage than many of our elected officials, who let men compete in women’s sports and invade female-only spaces instead of standing up to pressure from left-wing activists. pic.twitter.com/muptQ768cn
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) December 5, 2023
Sarah Parshall Perry of The Heritage Foundation, another witness at the hearing, argued that separating sports by sex comes down to common sense, adding that it’s also widely supported by the American people.
“Ultimately, what keeps us here is our failure to identify biological distinctions between one sex and another,” Perry said. “We can use terms like ‘cis’ or ‘trans’ all we want, but men and women are different and the American public knows it, which is why 70% of the American populace wants sports separated by sex.”
Perry also noted that nearly two dozen states have already passed legislation to protect girls and women’s sports; those states would face “significant financial harm” under the proposed Biden rule-change. She also predicted that if the Biden rule were to go through, it would “automatically be challenged in a federal court.”
Supporters of the Biden rule-change spoke a lot about supposed “bigotry” and “transphobia” of those who disagree with them, as underscored by Lee’s opening remarks. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) even argued that supporting sex-separated sports is akin to supporting racism.
Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, agreed with AOC that rules protecting women’s sports hurt black and brown people most. She also argued that the issue of women’s privacy in locker rooms could be addressed by “curtains” or “doors” during a heated exchange with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
“I actually think this is really, really important,” Graves said when pressed by MTG about Gaines having to share a locker room with a biological male during collegiate swimming. “The issue of privacy in locker rooms and in bathrooms – there’s a wide range of ways to address this. … You could put up a curtain, you could put up a door, you could have rotations.”
Greene moved on to Gaines, who said those are not in swimming locker rooms and suggested that the onus should not be on women and girls.
At today’s hearing on protecting Title IX, the Democrat witness defended men beating down women by competing against them in women’s sports.
But even Fatima Goss Graves’ hero, tennis star Serena Williams, admitted she would be beat in straight sets if she was forced to play… pic.twitter.com/3rqgMNBADK
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) December 5, 2023
The hearing also made mention of DailyWire+ comedy “Lady Ballers,” which skewers radical gender ideology in women’s sports. Gaines said she was pleased that the movie “mocked the mockery” some on the Left have made of women and girls.
“I encourage everyone to watch it,” she said. “Watching that movie … didn’t feel like satire. It felt like a documentary of what, again, myself and girls around the country continue to go through.”
.@RepEricBurlison: "If it weren't so tragic, it would be comical. I understand there's a movie being made [#LadyBallers], a comedy about this very issue that's on The Daily Wire that I can't wait to see."@Riley_Gaines_: "I encourage everyone to watch it…Watching that… pic.twitter.com/iexZFSFPL8
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) December 5, 2023
Notably, Daily Wire co-founder and “Lady Ballers” director and star Jeremy Boreing announced online that he sent a free screener of the film to those at the hearing.
“Ahead of today’s Title IX hearing, every member of the committee received a free screener of #LadyBallers,” he wrote. “I thought they needed a reminder that men pretending to be women and brutally dominating women’s sports is something to be mocked, not an idea to be written into law.”
Ahead of today’s Title IX hearing, every member of the committee received a free screener of #LadyBallers.
I thought they needed a reminder that men pretending to be women and brutally dominating women’s sports is something to be mocked, not an idea to be written into law. pic.twitter.com/y5qcgFaAU1
— Jeremy Boreing (@JeremyDBoreing) December 5, 2023