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AG nominee Merrick Garland sidesteps question on letting trans women compete in women’s sports: ‘Difficult question’

Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s attorney general nominee, refused to commit to an answer during Monday’s confirmation hearing whether biologically born males should be permitted to compete in women’s sports as transgender women.

On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order calling on schools to permit trans female athletes to compete on girls’ sports teams.

What are the details?

During Monday’s hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Garland said that the question — which he did not answer — was a “very difficult societal question.”

In remarks, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said, “In my last 20 seconds, I’m going to ask you, if you agree with this statement, allowing, and I’m not suggesting the answer one way or the other, I just want to know what you believe, allowing biological males to compete in an all-female sport, deprives women of the opportunity to participate fully and fairly in sports, and is fundamentally unfair to female athletes.”

Garland responded, “This is a very difficult societal question that you’re asking me here. I know what underlies it.”

Undeterred, Kennedy responded, “I know, but you’re going to be attorney general.”

Garland explained that he might well be attorney general, but he’s not the one “who has to make policy decisions like that.”

“But it’s not that I’m adverse to it,” he countered. “Look, I think every human being should be treated with dignity and respect.”

Placing his hand over his heart, Garland added, “And that’s an overriding sense of my own character, but an overriding sense of what the law requires. This particular question of how Title IX applies in schools is one and in light of the Bostock case, which I know you’re very familiar with, is something that I would have to look at when I have a chance to do that. I’ve not had the chance to consider these kinds of issues in my career so far, but I agree that this is a difficult question.”

From Outsports:

The Bostock case Garland referred to was last summer’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that provided guarantees to the LGBTQ community that we cannot be discriminated against in matters of employment. Legal scholars have debated whether that right could be applied beyond employment, but writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch — who filled the seat that President Barack Obama had nominated Garland to fill — seems to have answered that question: “Whether other policies and practices might or might not qualify as unlawful discrimination or find justifications under other provisions of Title VII are questions for future cases, not these.”

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White House defends order permitting trans athletes to compete in girls’ sports: ‘Trans rights are human rights’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki is defending President Joe Biden’s executive order demanding schools permit transgender students be able to participate in sports based on their preferred gender identity.

What order is this?

Biden signed the executive order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation on Jan. 21, which stated, “Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love. Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or the school sports.”

What are the details?

According to Fox News, Psaki defended Biden’s order on Tuesday.

After a reporter asked what “Biden’s message was to school officials tackling the disputes regarding transgender and cisgender girls competing together,” Psaki said that Biden’s “belief is that trans rights are human rights.”

The reporter added that the order could potentially lead to situations where “trans girls and cis girls” may “end up competing against each other,” prompting litigation and more from parents, and added that the administration should clarify to local school officials how to handle such disputes.

“And that’s why he signed that executive order,” she added. “And in terms of the determinations by universities and colleges, I would certainly defer to them.”

The Department of Education has yet to issue any official guidance on enforcing the executive order.

What else?

During Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that trans girls participating in women’s sports “would completely destroy girls’ athletics.”

Cardona disagreed.

“I think it’s the legal responsibility for schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities and this includes students who are transgender,” Cardona reasoned.

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Marcellus Wiley calls for ‘separate transgender category in competition’ after Biden’s executive order affecting girls’ sports

Former NFL player Marcellus Wiley propositioned the idea of a separate category for transgender athletes in response to President Joe Biden’s executive order forcing women to compete in sports against biological males.

The retired defensive end who played 10 years in the NFL for four teams called for the change in athletics with a tweet.

“As a father of 3 daughters & the husband to a former collegiate athlete, this hits home in a special way,” Wiley wrote on Twitter. “It’s time to create a separate transgender category in competition! Also think it’s time for me to start a podcast bcuz some things need to be discussed in detail!”

The tweet includes a screenshot of a May 2019 article from World Magazine titled: “Built-in advantage: NCAA hurdler shows how the Equality Act would undermine the very thing it claims to champion.”

The article chronicles transgender collegiate athlete CeCe Telfer, who was ranked In ranked 200th and 390th in 2016 and 2017, respectively, among Division-II men’s college athletics, before transitioning, and then becoming a national champion when competing against women.

CeCe (formerly Craig) Telfer of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce University won the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 25 in Kingsville, Texas. Telfer’s time of 57.53 seconds was more than a full second faster than that of his nearest competitor.

A peek at Franklin Pierce’s track and field website says nothing about Telfer competing as a man for his first three college seasons or about his accomplishments during those years. The press release touting the Ravens’ first NCAA individual champion in any sport says nothing about Telfer being transgender, either.

Cory Procter, also a former NFL player, weighed in on the debate, “No extra category. Men and women.”

Wiley, who is also a sports television commentator, responded, “I’m hearing that pushback. But, is that respecting all? That’s what I want to dive into.”

On his first day as president, Biden signed the “Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” The executive order declared that any school that receives federal funding must allow biological males who identify as females to compete in girls’ sports teams. Schools that don’t abide could face administrative action from the Education Department, which could include the loss of federal funding.

“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” the executive order reads. “Discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation manifests differently for different individuals, and it often overlaps with other forms of prohibited discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of race or disability.”

Biden has signed 40 executive orders and actions in his first 10 days in office.

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Policy letting transgender females compete against biological females now has prominent opponent: Attorney General William Barr

TheBlaze last month highlighted a
federal lawsuit filed by three biological female athletes who are challenging the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s policy of letting biological males compete in girls’ sports.

And now Selina Soule, Alanna Smith, and Chelsea Mitchell have a prominent ally: Attorney General William Barr.

What are the details?

Barr signed a “statement of interest” Tuesday arguing against the policy of the CIAC, the board that oversees the state’s high school athletics, the
Associated Press reported.

The conference lets athletes compete according to their identified genders and bases the policy on state law requiring schools to treat students similarly, the AP said. The CIAC also noted that its policy follows Title IX, the federal law that gives girls equal educational opportunities, including in athletics, the outlet added.

Hold on a sec

The Justice Department filing isn’t down with that.

“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,” Barr and the other department officials wrote, according to the AP. “In so doing, CIAC deprives those women of the single-sex athletic competitions that are one of the marquee accomplishments of Title IX.”

What did the CIAC have to say?

CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini told the outlet that its transgender policy is based on federal and state guidance and that multiple courts and federal agencies — including the Justice Department — have acknowledged the term “sex” in Title IX is ambiguous.

Lungarini added to the AP that the historical usage of the term “has not kept pace with contemporary science, advances in medical knowledge, and societal norms.”

What did the ACLU have to say?

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood — the biological male sprinters who identify as females and who have
dominated girls’ track in Connecticut — and told the outlet it’s troubling that the U.S. government is entering the fray to “make clear that it does not believe girls who are trans enjoy protections under federal law.”

“Our clients are two high school seniors who are just trying to enjoy their final track season of high school and who now have to contend with the federal government arguing against their right to equal educational opportunities,” Chase Strangio, deputy director for Trans Justice at the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, told the AP. “History will look back on these anti-trans attacks with deep regret and shame. In the meantime we will continue to fight for the rights of all girls to participate in the sports they love.”

What’s the background?

Alliance Defending Freedom — which is representing Soule, Mitchell, and Smith — argues that as a result of the CIAC policy “two males were permitted to compete in girls’ athletic competitions beginning in the 2017 track season. Between them, they have taken 15 women’s state championship titles (titles held in 2016 by nine different Connecticut girls) and have taken more than 85 opportunities to participate in higher level competitions from female track athletes in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons alone.”

Mitchell would have won the 2019 state championship in the girls’ 55-meter indoor track competition, “but because two males took first and second place, she was denied the gold medal,” the legal firm said.

Miller won that race with a state record time of 6.95 seconds, the
Associated Press reported. Yearwood took second place with a time of 7.01 seconds, and the third-place sprinter — Mitchell — hit the tape at a distant 7.23 seconds.

Soule finished eighth in the 55-meter sprint — and missed qualifying for the New England regionals by two spots, the outlet said. She told AP had Miller and Yearwood not run, she would’ve been in the regional race to show her abilities to more college coaches.

“We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it’s demoralizing,” Soule told the outlet. “I fully support and am happy for these athletes for being true to themselves. They should have the right to express themselves in school, but athletics have always had extra rules to keep the competition fair.”

Title IX High School Athletic Controversy | The Today Show, NBC News

As for Smith, she won the 400-meter dash at last June’s New England Regional Championships — and no biological males competed in the event, ADF said. But when she lined up for the 200-meter dash, a biological male ran against her and won; Smith came in third.

“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Forcing them to compete against boys isn’t fair, shatters their dreams, and destroys their athletic opportunities,” ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb said. “Having separate boys’ and girls’ sports has always been based on biological differences, not what people believe about their gender, because those differences matter for fair competition. And forcing girls to be spectators in their own sports is completely at odds with Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics. Connecticut’s policy violates that law and reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women.”

The spring track season is on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but conference officials have put off a decision on whether to cancel it.

Holcomb added to the AP that because the lawsuit also asks for changes to the state record book, the lawsuit will go forward even if it’s not resolved before the seniors graduate.

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ACLU threatens to sue if Idaho passes law banning biological males from competing against biological females in sports

LGBT groups are decrying the state government in Idaho as a bill banning biological males from competing against biological females in sports comes closer to becoming a legal reality.

The bill was approved by the Senate and will go the House for approval. Critics say the bill is unconstitutional and allows for discrimination against transgender persons.

Supporters of the law say it will protect females from unfair competition by biological males.

“It started to level the playing field. But now we are in a new crisis,” said Republican Sen. Mary Souza according to the Associated Press.

“Girls who have been struggling and training and competing in their sport are suddenly confronted by biological males,” she explained.

Trangender advocates and supporters complained about the bill on social media.

“The notion the Idaho House would spend time during #CoronavirusOutbreak looking for new ways to persecute transgender people is just beyond the pale. Don’t do this,” pleaded Montel Williams.

“While the world grapples with #coronavirus the Idaho Senate focused on discriminating by legislating against #transgender people and voting 24-11 to pass a bill barring transgender girls and women from women’s high school and college sports teams,” said Democratic strategist Meghan Stabler.

“We will sue”

The ACLU promised legal action if the governor signed the bill.

“The Idaho Senate just passed a bill targeting trans student athletes. This bill could subject any student athlete to invasive screenings,” the ACLU tweeted. “If @GovernorLittle signs this bill, we will sue.”

Here’s more about the proposed Idaho law:

Idaho lawmakers hear debate on transgender athletes’ bill

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Transgender marathoner doesn’t qualify for Olympics, loses to over 200 biological females at trial race

A biological male identifying as a woman will not be a part of the U.S. Olympic women’s marathon team this summer.

The U.S. Olympic marathon trials for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, were held over the weekend on a windy Saturday in Atlanta. And while the the three men and three women who will represent the United States of America have been chosen, the first transgender athlete to compete in the trial didn’t make the cut.

Last month, news broke that Megan Youngren, a biological male who identifies as female, had become the first openly transgender athlete to qualify for the U.S. Olympic marathon trials. The Sports Illustrated coverage of the athlete’s story notes that Youngren started taking hormones in 2011 and publicly came out as transgender in 2012.

According to ESPN, Youngren came in behind 229 biological women in 230th place with a marathon time of 2 hours, 50 minutes, 27 seconds. The women’s field for the trial race consisted of 390 Olympic hopefuls.

“People will try to put it down by saying, ‘That’s too easy because you’re trans,'” Youngren told Sports Illustrated last month. “But what about the 500 other women who will qualify? There’s probably someone with the exact same story. I trained hard. I got lucky. I dodged injuries. I raced a lot, and it worked out for me. That’s the story for a lot of other people, too.”

However, in order to compete in the trial, Youngren had to comply with the transgender competition rules put forward by the International Olympic Committee and followed by USA Track and Field, which were put in place to address concerns that biological males identifying as transgender could unfairly upend women’s competitions.

While biological women who identify as male can compete in men’s events without restriction, the policy imposes the following conditions on biological males who wish to compete with biological women:

2.1. The athlete has declared that her gender identity is female. The declaration cannot be changed, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years.
2.2.The athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition (with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 12 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition).
2.3.The athlete’s total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.
2.4.Compliance with these conditions may be monitored by testing. In the event of non-compliance, the athlete’s eligibility for female competition will be suspended for 12 months.

The three women who qualified for marathon team were Aliphine Tuliamuk, with a finish time of 2 hours, 27 minutes, 23 seconds; Molly Seidel with a finish time of 2 hours, 27 minutes, 31 seconds and Sally Kipyego who finished at 2 hours, 28 minutes, 52 seconds.

But despite not qualifying, Youngren recalled receiving an outpouring of support from other people at the event, ESPN reported.

“It’s always weird when someone comes up to you and says, ‘Hey, I read about you. I heard about you.’ But then also goes, ‘Good work. I’m glad you’re here,'” Youngren told ESPN. “It’s gratifying. It’s totally bizarre, also, because I’m just some person.”

The first transgender athlete to actually make the U.S. national team was duathlete Chris Mosier, a biological woman who identifies as male. Mosier competed in the men’s Oilympic trial for race walking in late January, but had to pull out of the race early due to a knee injury.

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Female athlete forced to compete against biological males finally gets major victory

Connecticut high school athlete Chelsea Mitchell finally got her big win.

Mitchell is one of three girls who filed a lawsuit in federal court last week challenging the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s policy of letting boys compete in girl’s sports. She and other top sprinters have consistently lost events to Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, two biological males who identify as females.

But that changed on Friday at the Class S state championship when Mitchell beat Miller in a 55m event.

Image source: WVIT-TV screenshot

According to the Hartford Courant, Mitchell of Canton High bested Miller of Bloomfield by just .02 seconds, clocking in at 7.18 seconds to Miller’s 7.20 seconds.

The race was Mitchell’s first ever victory over Miller in the event, according to WVIT-TV.

“I try to just clear everything out of my mind, this is just track, you know, it’s just running, just focusing on myself, not trying to think about anything else that’s been happening,” Mitchell told WVIT after the race.

When asked if her victory would hurt her lawsuit, Mitchell said, “I don’t think it could go against, there’s still tons of girls that lose on a daily basis.”

There was no interaction between the two athletes after the race, the Courant reported. However, Miller, who clapped after the race, appeared to take a subtle jab at Mitchell in her post-race comments.

“I clapped because, for me, I’m not a hater,” Miller said. “When you take a win, you take the win. And even if you don’t respect me, I’ll respect you.”

The CIAC contends their policy of allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports follows federal anti-discrimination laws. Meanwhile, ACLU has called the lawsuit “a dangerous distortion of both law and science in the service of excluding trans youth from public life.”