What is Title IX and why is Lia Thomas urging for changes in it?

Title IX was introduced in 1972 during Richard Nixon's presidency and once again has become a subject of much debate and deliberation.


What is Title IX and why is Lia Thomas urging for changes in it?

Credits: NBC Sports

Title IX in the United States rule of law is a domestic legislation that has played an important role in gender equity in athletics and has prevented sexual harassment in college and other professional campuses. President Richard Nixon signed the legislation into law on June 23, 1972. It was first brought forward as a bill through Congress by Rep. Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House.

The law is essentially just one sentence long and states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

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To loosely translate this legislation, the law tries to ensure equity between all sexes in education and, in broader terms, covers K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. Under the ambit of this law, vocational schools, libraries, and museums also come into account.

Currently, Lia Thomas, the first transgender athlete to win the NCAA swimming championship, is fighting for changes in this legislation. Backed by the Biden administration, Lia Thomas is against the Protection of Women’s Rights bill, which discriminates against transgender athletes.

Related: “Trans Athletes Belong in Sports” NCAA champion Lia Thomas speaks out on proposed Title IX rule change for transgender athletes

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Does Title IX protect LGBTQ+ athletes?

Riley Gaines and Lia Thomas
Lia Thomas and Riley Gaines (Credits: Fox News)

While nothing in the law explicitly states LGBTQ+ communities, the law has been invoked under several instances to outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ students and educators. Furthermore, a 2020 decision by the US Supreme Court stated that LGBTQ people are protected against discrimination in the workspace and employment.

Currently, the Biden administration is working towards a reinterpretation of the law in a broader sense, which would bring under its ambit to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Currently, the US Congress is scheduled to table a much-debated bill, the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act (also known as H.R 734), introduced by Rep. Greg Steube for voting this week. Lia Thomas and other transgender athletes are vehemently against this bill, as it promotes discrimination and bans transgender women from female sports at the school and college levels.

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Lia Thomas says, “This rule is a good start. However, it is not enough. During this time of extreme anti-trans backlash, the trans community needs explicit protection from discrimination to live our lives freely and equally. We urge the Biden administration to amend the rule and grant equal protection to all transgender kids.”

Lia Thomas is also backed by the White House, which has explicitly stated in its statements to veto the bill tabled for voting. Out of the 20 states that have proposed similar legislation in the U.S., 30 states have barred biological males from female states, including Florida and North Dakota.

The White House claims such bills are “unnecessary” and “hurts families and students.” In its statement, the White House elaborates,

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Discrimination has no place in our nation’s schools or our playing fields. Instead of addressing the pressing issues that families and students face today — such as raising teacher pay, keeping guns out of schools, addressing the mental health crisis our youth face, and helping students learn and recover academically from unprecedented disruptions — Congressional Republicans have instead chosen to prioritize policies that discriminate against children.”

Besides the conservative faction from the Republican party, many other opponents also challenge the Biden administration in its lieu of protecting women and the integrity of sports. Riley Gaines calls out Lia Thomas and the White House, saying, “The Biden Administration is actively and aggressively working to pass laws that erase decent and fair treatment for women in sports.”

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