Why It’s Time to Support SB 480

Cornerstone has strongly supported the passage of SB 480, a bill that would save women’s sports for biological women. Despite the mounting evidence that biological males who compete as women have an unfair advantage, the Senate Workforce and Education Committee voted 4-1 “inexpedient to legislate.” There has been an important development since that time.  On May 15th, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR)  announced that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) and six Connecticut school disctricts violated Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination by allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in girls sports. If the CIAC and schools do not remedy this violation, they are at risk of losing all federal funding. This determination serves as a warning to any state or school that maintains similar policies that deprive female athletes of equal opportunities in sports. . 

In the 45-page letter,  OCR shared the details and conclusions from their own extensive investigation into the allegations of three female high school athletes who were harmed by policies that allowed two biological males to dominate female track and field competitions. (There is also a separate federal lawsuit against the CIAC and schools by the female athletes). In that investigation, the OCR found that the actions by the CIAC and the schools to include genetically male athletes effectively denied female athletes athletic benefits and opportunities by putting them at a competitive disadvantage, a clear violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  They noted that the CIAC deferred to the schools and the schools deferred to the student for self-identification with no specific criteria or documentation required. Connecticut now faces further action and potential loss of federal funding.

Current New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) language regarding transgender participation in women’s sports mirrors Connecticut’s language almost verbatim. Under NHIAA By-Law Article II, Section 21, “the NHIAA shall defer to the determination of the student and his or her local school regarding gender identification.” This means that biological males are freely permitted to participate in women’s sports based solely on their own self-declaration of a female identity. Yet this completely ignores the physiological differences between males and females, differences that justify the need for female-only sports teams. 

Yet the NHIAA recognizes that other physiological differences demonstrate the need for separate teams based on a student’s age. In Section 1, Age of Contestants, the NHIAA notes separating teams based on age “allows the participation of younger and less experienced players; …helps to diminish the risk of injury associated with participation in interscholastic athletics.” If the NHIAA recognizes the inherent differences in strength and capability associated with age, why do they fail to acknowledge the scientifically demonstrated and proven performance and strength distinctions between male and female physiology?

SB 480 is written in simple language to ensure women can continue to compete in their sport without fear of being tossed off the winner’s platform by males. The U.S. Department of Education has spoken, and New Hampshire should listen.