On Title IX's 50th, USOPC seeks accord on transgender policy
AP Jun 23, 2022 13 days ago
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The biggest gathering of the year for U.S. Olympic policymakers fell on Thursday, the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Not surprisingly, one of the most urgent debates behind closed doors was what the future of the law might mean for transgender athletes in sports.
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“This is one where there is not easy alignment," board chair Susanne Lyons said. “It's not our role to actually set the policy. But the question is, what should the USOPC be doing on this, and we agree that we should have an articulated point of view.”
It could take months to develop a policy, which will likely come in the form of recommendations that will not be binding.
Also on Thursday, the Biden Administration proposed new rules that would enshrine the rights of LGBTQ students under Title IX. More specific rules dealing with the rights of transgender students in school sports will be released later.
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All this comes as states are stepping in to regulate rules regarding transgender sports. Laws restricting transgender participation in female sports have been passed in no fewer than 19 states over the past two years.
On the international level, the IOC implemented a new framework in March to guide policy for transgender sports. It suggested that international federations (IFs) in each sport set their own rules based on science and the specific nature of the sports themselves.
That left many of the more than four dozen organizations that run the individual sports in the United States waiting for guidance from the IFs. The USOPC is the umbrella organization that oversees them.
Speaking at the USOPC's annual assembly, Lyons said that although nothing the USOPC would come up with would be binding, it has a role as a national leader in sports to draft a policy.
It's a difficult task, especially given the makeup of the board, which includes advocates on both sides of the issue — those who would like to see full inclusion for transgender athletes in women's sports and those who want to protect the space that Title IX carved out for women.
“No one's really coming and begging us for our point of view,” Lyons said. “But on the other hand, we're the leaders of the Olympic movement in the U.S., so we have to have a point of view. And it's not necessarily going to be a point of view that's 100% aligned with everyone's opinion.”
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