Opinion

SCHILLING: How President Trump Can Save Women’s Sports From Transgender Athletes

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Terry Schilling American Principles Project

Last week, Franklin Pierce University track runner CeCe Telfer, a biological male who identifies as transgender, took home an NCAA Division II women’s championship in the 400 meter hurdles, besting the other female competitors by more than a second. Telfer had been competing as a man as recently as January 2018, but now running as a woman, the athlete delivered FPU its first track and field national title, as well as a great deal of controversy.

By now, the stories of biological men competing in — and dominating — women’s athletic competitions are distressingly familiar. Indeed, recent headlines have been increasing: “Male Runners Continue Dominating Girls’ High School Track In Connecticut.” “Biological Male Wins World Championship In Women’s Cycling.” “Transgender Weightlifter Scores Medals At World Championships.”

Fortunately for female athletes, President Trump and his administration have proven to be staunch defenders of women’s sports, even as Democrats have worked to undermine them.

Shortly after his election, the president rescinded an Obama-era “guidance” letter, which had threatened the nation’s public schools with a loss of funding if they did not open their girls’ sports teams, as well as bathrooms, locker rooms, and other private facilities, to biological males who claim to identify as female. And earlier this year, the White House announced its opposition to the “Equality Act,” a Democratic bill which would write the above Obama policy into national civil rights law.


But while the Trump administration’s moves have undoubtedly helped stem the tide, they have not stopped some states from eviscerating women’s sports on their own, creating a blatantly unfair playing field for many girls unlucky enough to grow up in regions of the country ruled by leftist ideologues. In order to ensure female athletes have the same opportunities nationwide, more aggressive action is required.

President Trump should take a page from his predecessor’s playbook and issue his own guidance letter asserting the importance of schools having separate athletic teams based on biological sex.

Of course, there would be some key differences between this and President Obama’s guidance letter. While the Obama administration made the highly ideological and legally dubious decision to interpret “sex” in federal law to include subjective “gender identity,” a Trump guidance would merely clarify what most have long taken for granted: that protections of equal opportunity based on sex means biological sex.

Whereas the Obama guidance threatened to force school districts across the country to dismantle the protections offered to women by laws such as Title IX, a Trump guidance would reaffirm those protections, ensuring they are not misused to advance a leftist transgender ideology.

Moreover, there is ample evidence that President Trump would have strong support for this action. A Rasmussen poll just last week showed that a clear majority of Americans (54 percent) oppose allowing biological males to join women’s sports teams, while only 28 percent support it. And other polls have shown the same thing, despite the fawning media coverage that “barrier breaking” transgender athletes have generally received.

It is one of the greater ironies of today’s politics that the same progressive Democrats who claim to oppose a “war on women” are actively pushing policies to effectively annihilate women’s sports. President Trump has a massive opportunity to expose this hypocrisy and at the same time defend the important American principle of equal opportunity for all. It’s a critical opportunity he cannot afford to waste.

Terry Schilling (@Schilling1776) is the executive director at American Principles Project, a conservative nonprofit dedicated to putting human dignity at the heart of public policy.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.