On October 21, 2018, The New York Times reported that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX.” Title IX of the United States Education Amendments of 1972 provides that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” According to the Times, HHS proposes to “define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with…” Furthermore, “any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.”
This sounds perfectly reasonable, doesn’t it? In fact, readers and listeners may be wondering why such a statement of the obvious is even necessary. The reason is quite simple: A legal definition of sex is needed to undo the damage done by the Obama administration in regard to gender issues in public schools. The Obama administration falsely asserted that Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination extended to “claims of discrimination based on gender identity…” In 2016, President Obama’s Department of Education went further, issuing an infamous “Dear Colleague” letter that strong-armed school districts across the nation into allowing “transgender” students to access opposite-sex facilities.
The Trump administration is well within its rights to interpret Title IX differently than the Obama administration did, especially given the complete lack of any legal basis for the Obama administration’s interpretation. At New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, we stand in full support of the HHS proposal; it is consistent with federal law, reverses an Obama administration overreach, respects state sovereignty, protects students’ modesty and innocence, and—most importantly—is truthful.