Name this political issue: Yesterday, one of Biden’s cabinet picks said something disturbing about it. And today, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a new bill to solve the problem.
What’s the issue? Girls’ sports.
I’ll tell you what Biden’s cabinet pick said, and what Senator Lee’s bill would do about it. But first, let me provide some context.
Yesterday was National Girls and Women in Sports Day. At Family Policy Alliance, we’re proud to celebrate the opportunities today’s female athletes have in America. These opportunities weren’t always available!
A Brief History of Girls’ Sports in America
If you were a female athlete before 1972, your options were likely limited. Your school may have had limited girls’ sports (in comparison with boys), inferior funding, or even no girls’ teams at all.
If you want to hear more about this era in girls’ sports, check out this video that one of YOU sent us! Pat McWethy of Virginia describes her experiences:
The turning point came when Congress passed Title IX in 1972. This law prohibits sex discrimination in schools, including in sports programs. Because of this law, girls were given a better chance at their own sports teams and opportunities.
It paid off. Before Title IX, about 1 in 27 girls played sports. Today, 2 in 5 play sports.
The Landscape Today
While we’re thrilled that today our daughters have more opportunity than ever before in the sports arena, that reality is threatened by a new phenomenon: biological males, who identify as female, playing in female sports divisions.
Some schools and sports divisions will allow this to happen, despite the fact that males have distinct physiological advantages over women in sports. These include advantages in cardiovascular capacity, muscle mass, and bone density – not to mention more apparent advantages like height!
These differences translate to sports performance and outcomes, all the way up to the highest levels. Take the 2016 Olympics, for example. In the men’s and women’s finals for the 1500-meter run, the women’s Gold medalist was more than 17 seconds slower than the last-placing man.
When males are allowed to compete in female sports, the competition may be over before it’s begun. The result: males take titles, scholarships, and other elite opportunities that were reserved for females.
And that’s the news about Biden’s Education Secretary nominee. In a hearing yesterday, he seemed to suggest that he believes schools have a “legal responsibility” to let this happen. In combination with Biden’s recent Executive Order suggesting he wants to redefine sex, it seems clear the Biden administration plans to put its support behind boys playing in girls’ sports.
The Good News
Thankfully, others are fighting back. At Family Policy Alliance, we’ve been on the front lines of defending girls’ sports, and you’ve been a critical part of that effort.
Last year, you helped Idaho became the first state to pass a law to “Save Girls’ Sports.” The law stipulates that only females can play in girls’ and women’s school sports.
Other states are following suit. One effort in Montana is taking off thanks to the good work of our friends at Montana Family Foundation. That bill has passed the House and is on to the Senate. If you participated in our Action Alert supporting it, thank you!
There are also federal efforts underway.
And that’s where Senator Mike Lee comes in. Today, he introduced the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act. If passed, this bill would stipulate that in order for a school to receive federal funds, they can only allow females on their girls’ sports teams.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) has introduced the same legislation in the U.S. House.
That’s good news for our girls.
If you haven’t already, we encourage you to take a moment to visit our dedicated webpage to learn more, sign our petition to lawmakers, and share this message with friends.
Girls should have a level playing field. Will you help us protect it?
Policy and Communications Strategist