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The Biden presidency, we’re told, is a historic win for women. With Kamala Harris as his Madam Vice President and a record number of women in his Cabinet, the new commander in chief is advancing the female cause. “This is what breaking the glass ceiling looks like,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar enthused on Inauguration Day.
As is often the case, the gratuitous symbolic victories distract from more significant, material losses. Hours after Harris became the first female vice president, Biden signed an executive order that discriminates against her entire sex.
The directive, titled “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” spells disaster for women’s shelters, sports and health care in the name of transgender equality.
For instance: Institutions that receive Title IX funding must allow biological males who identify as female to compete in women’s athletics. “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to . . . school sports,” the order states.
Some call it the “Bostock Executive Order.” All federal agencies, it dictates, must implement Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s opinion in last year’s Bostock v. Clayton County. There, the high-court majority ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s Title VII prohibition on sexual discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. This, even though the very term “gender identity” would have befuddled those who enacted the law.
“Under Bostock’s reasoning,” Biden’s new order states, “laws that prohibit sex discrimination — including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 . . . prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Of course, by asserting that “sex” in Title IX includes “gender identity,” the order not only denies reality and discriminates against biological women. It also effectively reverses Title IX, instituted to give female athletes a level playing field through female-only teams. Oh well.
Biden avoids the inconvenient topic: how the bone density, muscle mass and lung capacity of female-identifying biological males give them an unfair advantage over biological females, allowing them to unjustly claim titles, trophies and scholarships.
A few years ago in Connecticut, male high-school track-and-field athletes Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood began competing — and consistently winning — as women. In 2020, three female track athletes filed suit against the conference policy permitting this. “My daughter would have qualified for the New England regionals in the 55-meter dash in Spring 2019,” one plaintiff’s mother wrote. “But instead, the top two spots went to biological boys who identify as girls.”
A recent study suggests that male-to-female trans athletes retain physical advantages over their female peers even after a year of testosterone suppression. Fairness aside, this is dangerous. Recall that thanks to his male strength, trans MMA fighter Fallon Fox cracked a female opponent’s skull in 2014.
Girls need more suggestions like Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Protect Women’s Sports Act of 2020,” which proposed clarifying that Title IX compliance “be determined on the basis of biological sex as determined at birth by a physician.” Biden’s order only lays the groundwork for more accidents.
At his Wednesday swearing-in, Biden linked his inauguration to the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington. “108 years ago at another inaugural,” he said, “thousands of protestors tried to block brave women from marching for the right to vote. Today, we mark the swearing-in of the first woman in American history elected to national office.”
At the 1913 parade, according to historians, these male “protesters” shoved, tripped, and flung “indecent epithets” at those marching suffragettes. Biden may profess to deplore their actions, but his administration features its own misogyny. The new variety is more subtle than the old, although it too boasts its share of boorish epithets. It lurks behind liberal pieties and appeals to identity and toleration. But its attacks on biological women are no less insidious.
In fact, they’re far worse. By explicitly including “children,” Biden signals to American girls that he accepts gender ideology’s view that embodied femininity means nothing. Today, trans ideology is influencing record numbers of girls and teens to despise their female bodies and do irreparable injury to their fertility and health. Biden’s order shrugs at their fate.
“We must reject a culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured,” Biden asserted Wednesday. Alas, by ignoring the damage trans dogma does to women, the Bostock Executive Order does precisely that.
Ramona Tausz is associate editor of First Things.
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