As New Title IX Regulations Loom, Pushback Grows From Multiple Sides

In June 2021, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced that Title IX prohibitions on sex-based discrimination would be extended to include discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. 

But as the new regulations are expected to drop sometime this month, a growing coalition of ideologically diverse groups is forming to push back against this change, citing concerns over due process in Title IX sexual abuse investigations and worries about protecting women’s rights.

Lawmakers in the House and the Senate are pushing for a clarification on the definition of biological sex, as members of both houses of Congress allege that redefining sex disenfranchises women in traditionally gender-segregated spaces, from prisons to athletics. Both Senate Resolution 644 and House Resolution 1136 (spearheaded respectively by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi and Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko, both Republicans) assert that “for purposes of Federal law, a person’s ‘sex’ means his or her biological sex (either male or female) at birth,” and that “for purposes of Federal law addressing sex, the terms ‘woman’ and ‘girl’ refer to human females, and the terms ‘man’ and ‘boy’ refer to human males.”

Dubbed the “Women’s Bill of Rights” and essentially identical in wording, both resolutions emphasize the legal roots of redefining sex, referring to “recent misguided court rulings related to the definition of ‘sex’ have led to endangerment of spaces and resources dedicated to women.” It is unclear whether this is meant to refer specifically to Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court’s landmark 2020 decision that banned employers from discriminating against gay and transgender employees.

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