TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Department of Education is considering changing its Title IX regulations to guide the rights of transgender athletes on school sports teams. Two of Kansas’ top leaders have offered differing opinions on the proposal.
Earlier this month, state lawmakers passed a bill to ban transgender athletes from participating in athletic programs or activities designed for women or girls. Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the bill, but she was overridden by a majority vote.
Now, the Biden Administration is proposing changing Title IX to bar public schools and colleges that receive federal funding from banning transgender students from participating on sports teams that align with their gender identities. However, it would allow some schools to adopt policies to limit how transgender students participate, particularly in cases where fairness in athletic competitions could be called into question.
“Every student should be able to have the full experience of attending school in America, including participating in athletics, free from discrimination. Being on a sports team is an important part of the school experience for students of all ages,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
“Beyond all the benefits to physical and mental health, playing on a team teaches students how to work hard, get along with others, believe in themselves, and build healthy habits that last a lifetime. Today’s proposed rule is designed to support Title IX’s protection for equal athletics opportunity. We welcome and encourage public comment on the proposed regulation and will continue working to ensure Title IX’s effective protection for all students.”
Title IX was signed into law more than 50 years ago with the goal of prohibiting discrimination based on sex in education programs that receive federal financial assistance. Sen. Roger Marshall says the proposed changes would only help achieve that goal.
“I think that it is just not right. It’s not fair for biological boys to compete against girls. I think it is that simple. I don’t think we want biological boys’ and girls’ bathrooms and in locker rooms,” said Sen. Marshall. “I want a fair playing field no more than do I want a 17-year-old boy competing against middle school boys. I don’t think that’s fair either. So we want a level playing field that respect to everybody’s rights.”
Gov. Kelly credits Title IX for leveling the playing field for women’s sports.
“Title IX was instituted to to provide fairness in women’s sports. And if you look, we’ve come a long way,” said Gov. Kelly. “I played sports before Title IX was enacted. There were so many things I couldn’t do. And there were so many opportunities that were not open to me because we didn’t have Title IX. Title IX has opened up those opportunities for girls and and women. And I think that what we ought to be doing is to ensure that girls’ and women’s sports are receiving fair and equitable treatment in terms of facilities and opportunities and financial support.”