The Biden administration's attempt to change a half-century-old civil rights law protecting all students from discrimination on the basis of sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity is "not fair to students," according to a conservative critic.
Under a new rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Education, colleges would be required to identify students based not on biological sex, but on their preferred gender identity.
"The Department therefore proposes that the current regulations should be amended to provide greater clarity regarding the scope of sex discrimination, including recipients' obligations not to discriminate based on sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity," states the executive summary.
The proposed rule was opened for public comment on July 12, with the comment period ending on Sept. 12.
Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 is the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational institutions or any activity receiving federal funding.
Under Title IX, “‘No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.’’
The law does not apply to education institutions controlled by a religious organization if the law’s application would not be consistent with the religious tenets of the organization.
Angela Morabito with the Independent Women's Forum told The Christian Post that the proposed new rule is focused on the government revamping long-held definitions and is "just not fair to students."
“The way they’re doing this is by playing a tricky little word game. They’re actually trying to redefine what ‘sex’ means,” Morabito said. “Title IX has stood for 50 years to protect all students from discrimination on the basis of sex and now in this new rule, they’re going to try to pretend like sex includes gender identity, which just isn’t what Title IX says.”
Critics like Morabito believe this will only serve to undermine those students for whom Title IX was made to protect.
“If this Biden administration rule gets codified into law, anyone can raise their hand, state how they identify, and the school would have to treat them in line with that,” Morabito said.
“Somebody who has identified as transgender since they were 11, 12, 13 years old … would be treated the same way as someone who raised their hand that morning and said, ‘I identify as a woman.'"
The Department of Education issued a “Notice of Interpretation” last year announcing that it has determined that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibiting discrimination based on sex also “prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The notice cited the United States Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County, which found that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as justification.
"This interpretation will guide the Department in processing complaints and conducting investigations, but it does not itself determine the outcome in any particular case or set of facts," the notice reads.
Other organizations, such as The American College of Pediatricians, also accused the department of rewriting federal civil rights law with the notice, saying that it "mandates a false definition of sex upon American students.”
"Schools will now be forced to allow biologically male students access to all female-only spaces," stated the American College of Pediatricians. "They will be housed with females during overnight school trips and events, participate in female-only sports, and displace females from female-only sports teams. This interpretation is unscientific and a clear threat to the health and safety of female students."