Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was designed to protect women in educational programs from discrimination on the basis of sex. Title IX applies to all educational programs that receive federal funding and covers everything from admissions to financial aid to sexual harassment to athletics. Title IX will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer, and since its implementation, the percentage of female high school graduates who enroll in college has gone from 43 percent to 71 percent today.
Title IX has also paved the way for thousands of female athletes by providing them with crucial scholarships and the opportunity to compete at a collegiate level. Before Title IX, less than 5 percent of girls played sports. Today, that number is closer to 40 percent.
For the past five decades, Title IX has allowed countless women the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Any changes to the definition of sex and gender under Title IX would dilute the protections that it offers and ultimately punish female athletes.
When women are forced to compete against biological males, the level playing field that Title IX created is obsolete. In one year, 275 high school boys ran faster times than the lifetime best of World Champion sprinter Allyson Felix. Earlier this year, Lia Thomas, University of Pennsylvania swimmer and biological male, won the NCAA D1 500-meter National Championship. In Connecticut, high school female runners filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference after being deprived of state titles and athletic opportunities by being forced to compete against two biologically male sprinters. Your proposed changes to the Title IX rule would make this the norm and would fundamentally erode the very protections it was designed to provide.
States such as Oklahoma, Utah, Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Montana, and South Dakota have all taken measures to protect female student athletes. This new rule will override those protections and circumvent the ability for states to ensure fairness for all athletes. Title IX was designed to protect female athletes from discrimination, requiring schools to provide locker rooms, equipment, and practice facilities for women and women's sports. Women have the right to feel safe in their locker rooms and compete on a playing field.
Changing the definition of sex and gender under Title IX will reverse nearly 50 years of advancements for women. We urge you to stand up for women and do not go through with this proposed change.