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Opinion: Biden’s Title IX rule adds discrimination against women through the backdoor

Fifty years ago, pioneering women and men fought for Title IX’s passage. 

They knew their efforts would pay off by giving girls and women like us opportunities our mothers and grandmothers didn’t have. The results have been profound. An entire youth sports ecosystem for girls has blossomed, giving countless females the same chance to develop skills critical to achieving equality in the workplace with their male counterparts.

A recent Ernst & Young study found that fully 94% of female business executives participated in sports as girls, making sports participation the most straightforward path to business success as an adult.

As former collegiate swimmers, we know achievement does not happen by accident. It takes work, dedication, perseverance and sacrifices. We learned this as little girls, waking up at 4:30 a.m. to go to swim practice and then returning to the pool that afternoon to keep working to master our craft. We learned this in the recruiting process, where we each earned a place on the swim teams of our dream schools where we could continue pursuing our dreams on a higher level. 

Despite this, it was not until 2020 that we each realized how much we had taken for granted the opportunities made available to us by Title IX.

Today, as we approach the 52nd anniversary of the landmark anti-discrimination law, women’s athletic opportunities are under attack.

The Biden administration has proposed new rules that would require schools to allow trans athletes to compete on teams that align with their gender identity, unless the school can demonstrate that allowing males who identify as women onto women’s teams would undermine “fairness in competition” or “safety.”

But what about fairness of opportunity? What could possibly be more unfair than telling a female athlete that she did not make the team because the team rostered a male body?

President Joe Biden


It is precisely this form of unfairness — lack of equal opportunity — that Title IX was passed to address. And yet the proponents of the new rule are perfectly happy taking opportunities from women and giving them to men.

Sadly, the party that once took pride in advancing increased opportunities for women is now actively working to undermine these benefits in the name of “inclusion.”

In fact, all 51 Democrat U.S. Senators recently voted in opposition to the Protection of Women and Girls in Olympic and Amateur Sports amendment, which would help to protect the female sporting category at the Olympic level. The irony should be painfully obvious to anyone with a brain. Or a heart, for that matter.

For us, this is not a theoretical issue; it is one that was forced in our faces. And we mean that literally.

Not only were we forced to compete against male swimmer Lia Thomas, we were also forced to watch this 6-foot-4 male with male parts undress in our locker room. To be perfectly clear, the anatomy we and many other women were forced to view confirms he is a male. We were constantly informed that there were no protections in place for us to undress that any male merely claiming the identity of a woman did not have access to.

Paula Scanlan and Riley Gaines

We’re not looking for sympathy with our stories, we’re looking for action. President Biden has proposed changing Title IX to allow men who identify as women to participate in and destroy the integrity of women’s sports. Not only is this widely unfair, it is discrimination on the basis of sex. Enough is enough.

We were gifted Title IX by those who came before us, and we will fight relentlessly to gift it to the young girls who have dreams to win at an elite level like we once did.

Riley Gaines is an ambassador for Independent Women’s Forum, director of the Riley Gaines Center, host of the OutKick podcast “Gaines for Girls,” and a former 12-time All-American swimmer at the University of Kentucky. Paula Scanlan is an ambassador with Independent Women’s Forum and a former swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania.

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