This past week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights held a public hearing on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. When Title IX was originally passed, it was intended to give women and girls equal opportunities in education.
Oh, how the times have changed.
Now, unfortunately, some are trying to use Title IX to take away opportunities from women. Nowhere is this more apparent than the arena of women’s sports. And ADF is defending a number of female athletes across the country as they stand in court to say: “There are real, biological differences between men and women, and those differences matter—particularly in sports.”
Among the members of the public who spoke were a broad alliance of men and women supporting the preservation of women’s sports, including several of our clients and ADF Senior Counsel Matt Sharp. Here are some of the key quotes from the hearing:
“Title IX was designed to ensure that female athletes have the opportunity to compete and win.” –Selina Soule, Connecticut track athlete
It isn’t enough for women to have the opportunity simply to compete. Title IX and sex-specific sports exist so that women have the same opportunities to succeed as men. After nearly 50 years of advances for women, female athletes like Selina Soule are now watching that progress disappear. In Connecticut, where Selina competed as a high school track athlete, a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy allows male athletes who identify as transgender to compete against the girls. Unsurprisingly, those male athletes dominated track competitions, while female athletes like Selina were told to “run faster” or sit down, shut up, and accept the losses.
“The [CIAC] policy was devastating for female athletes all across the state, and it was difficult to see the adults in charge disrespect young women in this way.” –Christy Mitchell, Connecticut parent
Young women shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not their school officials are going to advocate for them and protect their rights. High school track athlete Chelsea Mitchell lost out on four state championship titles to male athletes. At the hearings this week, Chelsea’s mother Christy Mitchell expressed concern that her daughter’s rights were not only being violated, but also disregarded by school officials—who have a duty to protect the rights of all of their students.
“This is a bipartisan issue that boils down to biology.” –Linnea Saltz, Idaho State University athlete
You don’t need to be on a particular side of the political aisle to recognize scientific reality. As Linnea Saltz pointed out in her testimony, males have more muscle and bone mass, as well as less body fat. And these blatant biological differences are being ignored to the detriment of women and girls. She watched this unfold at the NCAA Division I Big Sky Conference Championships in 2020 as a male athlete crushed the competition and took first place in the women’s mile—bumping one of Linnea’s teammates off the podium and into fourth place.
“There is no magical wand that changes the advantages that begin in the womb....” –Cynthia Monteleone, world-champion track athlete
Our sex is determined at the moment of conception. As males and females develop, differences in muscle and bone structure grow larger. No amount of testosterone suppression or cosmetic surgeries can rewrite your chromosomes. Even if they could, evidence has shown that testosterone suppression does little to diminish any inherent strength advantages of the male body. In fact, a recent study found that males who identified as women generally maintained or even increased in strength after a year of testosterone suppression.
Many others—including Lauren Adams of Women’s Liberation Front and Mary Verrando-Higgins of Save Women’s Sports—also testified in support of reserving women’s sports for girls and women.
At one point, Mary Verrando-Higgins pleaded with the DOE officials: “I am personally begging you to protect females....”
But women shouldn’t have to beg to be protected—especially when they have scientific fact and common sense to back them up.
Let’s just hope the officials holding the hearings were listening.
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