On Wednesday, January 20, President Biden released an “Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” This Executive Order (EO) is being misrepresented with a few salacious opinion pieces and Tweets that have taken social media by storm, leading to headlines claiming girls’ sports are ‘coming to an end’.
We believe nothing could be further from the truth. There are many real threats to girls’ and women’s access and opportunity in sports; however, this EO is not one of them.
This EO is one of the first steps from the Biden administration which indicates their intent to make our society, including sports, more inclusive by preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
The EO does not address how transgender athletes will be included in school sports, just that they should be included in a way consistent with their gender identity. It is an executive order, not agency-specific guidance, thus, it asks all federal and state agencies to review any policies that may be inconsistent with the direction set forth in the EO.
The false rhetoric taking hold is a distraction to the real threats to girls and women in sports, such as lack of Title IX understanding and compliance; inequity in compensation, resources, sponsorship and media attention; harassment and abuse of female athletes and women working in sports, the list goes on. These real threats are well known, well documented, yet they have become tolerated. Society pays them sporadic attention at best, with episodic spikes of outrage demanding change. These are issues that can and should be addressed to keep girls’ and women’s sports growing and thriving.
Sport can help break down barriers, create understanding and provide a place to belong. It is the power of sport that spurs our mission for all girls and women to have equal access and opportunity to play, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ability, ZIP code or family income. We believe humanity wins when all girls and women, including transgender girls and women, have the opportunity to play.
All girls. All women. All sports.®