As the fight across the nation and the Texas Legislature to protect female athletes continues, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced he is joining a Tennessee-led amicus brief to protect women’s sports against unfair and dangerous competition from biological men.
The plaintiffs were four minors, along with their mothers, who argued that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and five other school boards violated Title IX by allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports.
In April 2021, a lower court dismissed the case, stating that the plaintiffs’ request to block the policy was debatable since two of the transgender athletes mentioned have already graduated.
The brief comes after the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision allowing transgender athletes to participate and compete on teams that align with their gender identity, rather than their biological sex. The district court affirmed the lower court’s decision saying that plaintiffs’ claim that CIAC’s policy put them at a disadvantage was baseless.
According to the brief, the district court viewed defining sex based on biological differences at birth as provocative. In CIAC’s policy, they express a commitment “to providing transgender student-athletes with equal opportunities to participate in CIAC athletic programs consistent with their gender identity.” However, the brief argues that the word “sex” in Title IX refers to the immutable biological binary between males and females that is observed at birth, not gender identity.
The brief also states that interpreting Title IX to give precedence to gender identity over biological sex would render it unworkable, as new genders like “genderqueer” and “nonbinary” are being invented every year. The states argue that allowing gender identity to take precedence over sex would allow students to switch between male and female divisions.
The brief states:
Providing girls the opportunity to experience the thrill of victory was one of the main athletic purposes of Title IX. At the time of Title IX’s enactment, the public understood that allowing biological boys to compete against girls would result in boys taking away championship opportunities designated for girls. In this circumstance, Defendants have failed to ‘effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of members of both sexes’ by refusing to offer truly sex-separated track-and-field competitions for the two sexes.
In 2021, Texas lawmakers passed legislation protecting girls sports in K-12, but stopped short of protecting collegiate sports.
Senate Bill 15 by State Sen. Mayes Middleton (R–Galveston), which would prohibit biological men from competing in women’s sports in the collegiate level, has passed the Senate and is currently awaiting a hearing in the Committee for Higher Education in the House.