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The Department of Justice today filed a Statement of Interest in federal court in Connecticut against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy that requires biological males to compete against biological females — despite the real physiological differences between the sexes — if the male is a transgender individual who publicly identifies with the female gender.
“In our pluralistic society we generally try to accommodate how individuals desire to live their lives up to the point where those desires impinge on the other people’s rights,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Allowing biological males to compete in all-female sports deprives women of the opportunity to participate fully and fairly in sports and is fundamentally unfair to female athletes. Sports are an important part of education and character development and provide an arena where individual discipline can result in achievement and recognition. The purpose of all-female athletics is to ensure that women have an equal opportunity to participate, compete and excel in this important part of life. Title IX has been a major step forward in the long fight to achieve this equality. As reflected in Title IX, the basis for single-sex athletics, is rooted in the reality of biological differences between the sexes. Clearly then, eligibility to participate on a single-sex team must be based on objective biological fact. Girls should not be forced, through the dismantling of Title IX, to be sidelined in their own sports.”
Title IX and its implementing regulations prohibit discrimination solely “on the basis of sex,” not on the basis of transgender status, and therefore neither require nor authorize CIAC’s transgender policy. One of Title IX’s core purposes is to ensure that women have an “equal athletic opportunity” to participate in school athletic programs. Schools realize that purpose primarily by establishing separate athletic teams for men and women and by ensuring that those teams are on equal footing. Because of the physiological differences between men and women, the existence of women’s sports teams permits women to participate more fully in athletics than they otherwise could.
Under CIAC’s interpretation of Title IX, however, schools may not account for the real physiological differences between men and women. Instead, schools must have certain biological males — namely, those who publicly identify as female — compete against biological females. In doing so, CIAC deprives those women of single-sex athletic competitions and the opportunity to compete on equal athletic footing.