UN Women’s Rights Advocate Wades Into America’s Trans Debate — in an Unexpected Direction

UN official emerges publicly against President Biden’s Title IX changes to allow transgender participation in women’s sports.

AP/Artie Walker Jr.
South Carolina guard MiLaysia Fulwiley (12) drives to the basket past Georgia forward Amiya Evans (30) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game February 18, 2024, in Columbia, South Carolina. AP/Artie Walker Jr.

A United Nations women’s rights official is publicly opposing the Biden administration’s Title IX changes to allow transgender participation in women’s sports, saying the policy would amount to discrimination against women and violate international human rights law.

Hers is a new line of attack from an unlikely source in a growing movement to prevent transgender persons from competing in and dominating female sports. It is also a break from the United Nations’ official policy statements on the issue.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, Reem Alsalem, posted a link to X Monday of her letter to the Biden administration, admonishing them for putting the principle of inclusion ahead of the rights and safety of women and girls.

Ms. Alsalem says the Biden administration’s proposed Title IX rules — which would bar blanket bans on transgender participation in women’s sports — would effectively deny women the right to fair athletic competition and would “increase the risk of female athletes sustaining injuries as a result of competing with athletes born male.”

“The physiological advantages inherent to males are not undone by testosterone suppression,” Ms. Alsalem writes. “Given that schools are threatened with the potential cutting of federal funding unless schools prioritize differences based on gender identity rather than biological sex, they would be participating in the discrimination against women and girls born female in sport.”

“I am concerned that the amendments to Title IX would also be contrary to the obligations of the U.S. Government with regards to equality and non-discrimination against women and girls under international human rights law,” Ms. Alsalem writes.

The United States Department of Education released its proposed Title IX rule changes to athletics in April 2023. Title IX of the Education Amendments is a 1972 law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school that receives federal funding. The Education Department initially said the new rules for athletics and how schools handle sexual misconduct complaints would be implemented for the 2023-2024 school year, but it has since blown through two deadlines.

Earlier this month, the Education Department sent over its final Title IX rules regarding sexual misconduct to the White House for review. Conspicuously absent was the portion related to athletics.

“The Department is still reviewing a second rule related to athletics,” a Department of Education representative told the Sun by email, “which received 150,000 public comments which by law must be carefully considered.”

Ms. Alsalem’s letter was one of those public comments. While nearly 70 percent of Americans think athletes should only compete against persons of the same birth sex, according to Gallup, the issue has become highly partisan and contentious. Mr. Biden is facing pressure from the left flank of his party to institute its Title IX changes. More than 20 Republican-led states have passed laws barring transgender participation in women’s sports.

Ms. Alsalem is hardly a rightwing shill. Quite the opposite, according to her X feed. Yet her stark language about the “intrinsic biological advantages” of males and the risk of predators violating female intimate spaces is a sharp contrast to policy statements made by the United Nations and many feminist organizations in America.

“The categoric or blanket exclusion of trans and intersex women from sport (including their segregation to trans or intersex-only categories) is a prima facie violation of their human right to live free from discrimination,” an October 2023 United Nations policy statement says.

The UN statement also questions whether biological males have an advantage in sport, saying such a view rests on “assumed muscular strength” and “ignores the wider range of other factors that enable some athletes to perform better than others, and appears to rely on stereotypical notions of a woman athlete’s performance and body type.”

The National Organization for Women, one of the largest feminist organizations in the country, also questions the premise that biological men have a competitive advantage against females. “The hate campaign against trans women and girls participating in school sports teams claims ‘unfairness,’” a post on the group’s website says.

“Rather than focusing on what this standard of ‘fairness’ might be, primary focus should be placed on the countless factors that can affect an individual’s performance in competitive sport. Socioeconomic disparities, racism, and even genetic and biological factors all play a role in this arena.”

Ms. Alsalem tells the Sun that she hasn’t gotten a response from the Biden administration yet. Has she gotten pushback from feminist organizations and the United Nations? “Not yet, but it does not mean it may not come later,” she says.

Is the tide turning on this issue when a leading United Nations women’s right advocate comes down hard on the Biden administration’s Title IX agenda? Public opinion is certainly moving in this direction, according to Gallup. While transgender rights activists once argued that Lia Thomas was an exception to the rule, news of transgender athletes dominating female competition or injuring female competitors is becoming common.

A transgender college swimmer in New Jersey won the 200-meter individual medley on Friday, shattering the previous record in the NJ Athletic Conference. A Vermont girls high school basketball team with a transgender center who is more than 6-foot-tall is dominating the season with a 17-one record.

A transgender high school sophomore won the girl’s high jump at the New Hampshire state championships. A Massachusetts girls basketball team forfeited a match this month after a transgender player on the opposing team, reportedly with facial hair, injured three of their players.

“Title IX literally means nothing at this point,” former NCAA women’s swimmer and advocate for protecting women’s sports, Riley Gaines, posted to X.

The New York Sun

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