President Biden has used his first days in office to announce an anti-discrimination executive order that some believe will force schools to include transgender athletes in girls’ sports.
The order, titled Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, was signed just hours after the new POTUS assumed office on Wednesday evening.
It states that ‘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 order adds: ‘It is the policy of my administration to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation’.
Biden claims that such anti-discrimination policies are ‘enshrined in the nation’s anti-discrimination laws’, and align with a Supreme Court ruling from 2020 that prohibits ‘discrimination on the basis of someone’s gender identity’.
There is now speculation that public schools will have funding pulled if they do not allow transgender female athletes to compete in girls’ sports.
Biden’s order is already dividing activists on the internet. While it has been cheered by proponents of transgender rights, others say the order could unintentionally discriminate against cis females.
Journalist Abigail Shrier wrote on Twitter: ‘On day 1, Biden unilaterally eviscerates women’s sports. Any educational institution that receives federal funding must admit biologically-male athletes to women’s teams, women’s scholarships, etc. A new glass ceiling was just placed over girls.’
Erielle Davidson of The Jewish Institute for National Security of America, wrote: ‘Sad day for women’s sports. Women must compete against biological males at the risk of injury and loss of title, thanks to a new Biden executive order. Don’t ever tell me this is ‘pro-woman.’ It’s not. It’s destructive and malicious.’
Soon after, the hashtag #BidenErasedWomen began trending on Twitter.
However, LGBT activists hit back, saying the order was simply Biden’s attempt at moving towards a more inclusive society – just as he pledged to do in his inaugural address.
‘I see #BidenErasedWomen trending so seems like a good time to remind everyone that trans people have been around in every recorded culture. Biden has simply said that he’s not going to allow people like me to be discriminated against for using female toilets, as we’ve always done,’ transgender writer Paris Lees posted.
Others claimed that criticism of Biden’s order was ‘transphobic’, and slammed the objectors as ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists’ (otherwise known as ‘TERFs’).
The decision to allow transgender athletes to compete in sports alongside their cisgender peers has caused controversy in recent years.
Last year, 17 states introduced bills to restrict athletes’ participation to sports of their gender assigned at birth – however, only Idaho, has passed a bill into law.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Andrew Court; The Associated Press