By Jennifer Ugwueke
Twenty US States have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration after the US Department of Education ordered schools to allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports teams.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and his counterparts in 19 other states in the lawsuit filed in the US district court in Knoxville on Monday August 30, asked the judge to allow them to separate restrooms, showers and locker rooms according to ‘biological sex’.
The suit also seeks for schools to be able to separate sports teams based on ‘biological sex’ and enforce dress codes as such, and not have to use a transgender person’s preferred pronouns.
Slatery said the legal interpretations by the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are based on a faulty view of U.S. Supreme Court June 2020 landmark civil rights law, which in Title VII, protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment.
In June 2021, the Department of Education said discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity will be treated as a violation of Title IX, the 1972 federal law that protects against sex discrimination in education. A legal analysis by the department concluded there is “no persuasive or well-founded basis” to treat education differently than employment.
The education directive reversed President Donald Trump-era policies that removed civil rights protections for transgender students. In 2017, the Trump administration lifted President Barack Obama-era guidance allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.
Also in June 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released guidance about what could constitute discrimination against LGBTQ people and advised the public about how to file a complaint.
With its guidance, the Biden administration in part took a stand against laws and proposals in a growing number of states that aim to forbid transgender girls from participating on female sports teams. The state attorneys general contend that the authority over such policies “properly belongs to Congress, the States, and the people.”
However the plaintiffs said;
“The guidance purports to resolve highly controversial and localized issues such as whether employers and schools may maintain sex-separated showers and locker rooms, whether schools must allow biological males to compete on female athletic teams, and whether individuals may be compelled to use another person’s preferred pronouns.
“But the agencies have no authority to resolve those sensitive questions, let alone to do so by executive fiat without providing any opportunity for public participation.”
Joining Tennessee in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. They are all Republican-led states, except for three.