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Political debate rages over trans sports participation

FILE - Swimmers compete (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
FILE - Swimmers compete (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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This week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to allow West Virginia to enforce a state law that bans transgender women and girls from participating in female sports teams in public schools.

This comes as the Department of Education announced a proposed change to Title IX.

The Biden administration on Thursday called for an end to across-the-board bans on transgender student-athletes, the first official counterpunch to Republican bans being implemented across the country.

In a statement, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said, “Every student should be able to have the full experience of attending school in America, including participating in athletics, free from discrimination.”

The proposal would still allow schools to block some trans athletes from competing on teams that match their gender identities. The administration’s move would make illegal the broad bans on trans student-athletes that have already passed in at least 20 states.

In Congress, House Republicans are pushing their own ban.

“It is a sad reflection on society that the federal government must step in to protect our nation's young women,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina.

But Democrats disagree.

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, of Oregon, said, “Singling out and excluding transgender athletes from school sports is detrimental to the mental health of trans students and serves no purpose but to sow division.”

In 2020, Full Measure host Sharyl Attkisson reported on the issue, sitting down with three Connecticut high school student-athletes who filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s policy allowing students to move from the boys’ team to the girls’ team, without undergoing hormone treatments or surgery.

Sharyl: “Have all of you lost races and competitions to biological males?”

Selena Soule: “Yes. We all have.”

Sharyl: “How many races?”

Soule: “Too many to count.”

The transgender participation debate doesn’t only center around competitive athletes.

Nike is now facing boycott calls, after partnering with influencer Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender woman, to promote sports bras and leggings.

“It’s this total disdain, that women are being treated to at the moment, particularly in the world of sport where physiology makes so much difference,” said Olympic medalist Sharron Davies.

Before the new federal rule becomes official, the Department of Education will accept comments for 30 days.

But expect GOP legal challenges. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted, “President Biden, we’ll see you in court.”

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