BREAKING; Lia Thomas addresses the Biden administration’s proposed Title IX rule change on trans athlete bans

The reigning NCAA champion swimmer from Penn spoke out about Biden’s proposed change to Title IX that has drawn criticism.

In the wake of a proposed change in Title IX regulations affecting transgender athletes, former Penn swimmer and NCAA champion Lia Thomas spoke out on social media wearing a shirt with the message, “Trans Athletes Belong in Sports.”

The Biden administration’s proposed rule announced earlier this month would establish that blanket bans, like those that have been approved in at least 20 states, would violate Title IX, the landmark gender-equity legislation enacted in 1972. But schools that receive federal funding could still adopt policies that limit transgender students’ participation, particularly in more competitive high school and college sports.

The Biden administration’s proposed national standard has been criticized by some advocates, including Thomas, though she also pointed out certain positives.

“I’m a transgender woman, a former college swimmer, and the first trans athlete to be named Division I NCAA champion,” Thomas said in a video on her Instagram account. “I started swimming when I was 5 years old and it has given me so much. It has given me so many opportunities to learn, grow, develop and connect with my peers — opportunities I wouldn’t have gotten if I didn’t have access to athletics. That’s why it breaks my heart to see trans kids across the country lose out on these opportunities.

“The Department of Education has proposed a new rule for Title IX regarding transgender athletes; this rule would prohibit blanket bans on transgender kids, especially in grades K through 8. However, it would not prohibit discrimination against trans kids in the high school and college levels under the guise of competitive fairness.”Another high-profile trans athlete, Yale swimmer Iszac Henig, had expressed similar sentiments to the Associated Press.

“I would love to see protections expanded to include elite and collegiate sports, but this seems like a good start,” said Henig, who is swimming for Yale on the men’s team this season. “Trans athletes should have the ability to compete on the team of their choice if their athletic skills allow it.”Said Thomas: “This rule is a good start. However, it is not enough. During this time of intense anti-trans backlash, the trans community needs explicit protection from discrimination in order to live our lives freely and equally.

“Luckily, this rule is not final. We have a 30-day period to urge the Biden administration to amend the rule and grant equal protection for all transgender kids. Because all trans kids deserve the opportunity to compete and play in the sports they love without compromising who they are. Join me in commenting on this proposed rule and demanding equal protection for all transgender athletes. All trans kids deserve the opportunity to be themselves and participate.”The public has 30 days to comment on the proposal after it is published in the Federal Register. After that, the Education Department will review the comments and decide whether any changes are needed before issuing a final rule.



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