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We Must Protect Sports for Women and Girls

By: US Senator James Lankford

The OU’s women’s gymnastics team just earned their second-straight NCAA national championship. Winning one national title is really tough; two in a row is something that only historic dynasty programs accomplish.

It’s hard to remember there was a time when women’s sports were not part of the NCAA. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the Title IX law to ensure equal access and opportunity for both men and women in education. Ten years later, most women’s sports joined the NCAA. It was a huge deal in 1972, and it remains a huge deal now. Women can compete in sports in their own division and have equal opportunities for scholarships, national championships, and recognition for their achievements.

As a dad to two daughters, both of whom have participated in athletics throughout their lives, I’m grateful to live in a nation that offers equal opportunities to women and men.

At least, we used to.

Now, women and girls once again have to fight for their right to equally participate in sports. Under the Biden Administration’s progressive agenda, women face the challenges of competing against biological males, which also leads to privacy and safety concerns in school bathrooms and locker rooms.

The Biden Administration is asking for public feedback on a new regulation that would further limit fairness in women’s sports. In their new rule, all elementary age school sports would be required to allow any biological male who wants to compete in girls’ sports.

In middle school, high school, and college sports, biological males couldn’t be blocked entirely from competing with or against girls. Instead, each school would have to request an exception from the Biden Administration if they want to protect athletic opportunities for girls. If you don’t agree with the Biden Administration’s policy, your school would lose federal education funding. 

All people—all people—should be afforded equal opportunity, but that also includes women and girls—that’s why Title IX was put in place. But now, under the guise of preventing discrimination, suddenly women and girls are being discriminated against.

Can we admit the obvious? There are physical differences between males and females that give some advantage to boys in certain sports. That doesn’t diminish any person. But now, the left wants to shut down all women’s sports, if they don’t get their redefinition of male and female.

Talk about a school bully.

I am convinced, most Oklahomans see the obvious issue with allowing biological males to compete with and against girls, but the culture has become so hostile that they’re not willing to speak out about it. 

We should speak out at school board meetings, neighborhood conversations, and thousands of other places for the value of every person and the common sense of women’s sports. Our conversation should be respectful, but it should also be clear and consistent. We believe in the right of women to enjoy sports without having a man in their locker room, training room, or on the field. 

Instead of destroying women’s sports, why don’t we celebrate the incredible progress we have made in the last 50 years by respecting the dignity of women and girls across the nation through the protection of Title IX? 

I introduced the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, which will make sure no one can take away a woman’s right to compete and excel in athletics in our nation. I’m not going to let President Biden continue to undermine Title IX protections for women and girls’ sports.