President Joe Biden on his first day in office signed an executive order aimed at combating discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation on schools, but The Hill notes that in many states such as Montana, moves are underway to prevent student athletes deemed biological males from participating in female sports.
"Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports," reads Biden's executive order, titled, "Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation."
Biden's order nullifies an executive order by President Donald Trump that said "prohibition on sex discrimination" in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not apply to Title IX, but The Hill notes that activists still are set for a fight as conservative states aim to prevent what that see as incursions into female sports from competetors who they say have an advantage because of their biology.
Montana's bill would mandate sports teams in public schools be based on biological sex, which transgender advocates argue would prevent such students from participating in gendered sports.
The bill notes "inherent differences between men and women," such as testosterone levels, which already are already regulated by the NCAA and other sports bodies. The NCAA requires a year of hormone treatment before a person can compete on a female team.
“I submit to you that, if you don’t pass legislation such as this, that it will come to the day where there will be no room, no place, for women to compete, and at that point, I say to you, where shall we go, against whom shall we compete, and to whom shall we turn for redress?” said Idaho Republican state Rep. Barbara Ehardt. Ehardt was the sponsor of a similar bill in her state that is currently under court challenge.
“It is unconscionable that Montana lawmakers are focused on restricting transgender and nonbinary youth’s ability to play school sports in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic and economic turmoil. Transgender students, like all students, deserve the chance to learn teamwork and to build self-esteem and a sense of belonging with their peers through sports,” said Sam Brinton, VP of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project.
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