Brand Leudemann: Title IX changes cut parents, school boards out of debate

As a mom with school-aged children in Loudoun County, I’ve witnessed the years-long battles with the School Board over various issues, but none have been as divisive as Policy 8040. This policy, aimed at providing an inclusive environment for all students regardless of gender identity, has sparked controversy among religious communities and concerned parents.

While the intent of Policy 8040 is to foster inclusivity and support for gender-expansive and transgender students, it has raised valid concerns among some parents, particularly those with closely held religious beliefs. Dozens of Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus have stood up against Policy 8040, arguing that it violates their religious convictions.

The recent changes to Title IX by the Biden administration, redefining “sex” as “gender identity,” have further fueled the debate and have cut both parents and local school boards out of the debate entirely. While the intention may be to promote equality, it’s resulted in erasing the very protections that have empowered women for decades. By disregarding biological differences between males and females, we’re jeopardizing the integrity of female athletics and opportunities, not to mention the safety and privacy of women and young girls.

Title IX has long been a beacon of hope for gender equality in education and sports. Its fundamental purpose was to ensure that women have the same opportunities as men in academic and athletic settings. However, by altering the definition of “sex,” the Biden administration is disregarding the biological differences between males and females and, in turn, diluting the very protections that have empowered women for decades.

The impact of this revision is particularly evident in our local school districts, universities and women’s sports. Allowing individuals to self-identify their gender without regard to biological sex threatens the integrity of female athletics, the safety of female athletes, and their opportunities. It creates an unfair playing field, where biological males who identify as female can compete against biological females, robbing female athletes of the opportunities they have worked tirelessly to achieve.

This revision extends beyond athletics and infiltrates other areas covered by Title IX, including issues of sexual harassment, assault, and access to single-sex spaces. By erasing the distinction between biological sex and gender identity, the Biden administration is jeopardizing the safety, privacy, and rights of women and young girls, while violating the closely held beliefs of many faith-based communities.

The Loudoun County School Board’s Student Services Committee recommended that an “objective” outside organization be retained to lead focus groups with the community on proposed changes to Policy 8040. This demonstrates the recognition of the need for open dialogue and community input on such significant policy changes, but the changes to Title IX has put an end to any possible dialogue, silencing the discussion about what’s safe, fair and respectful in our schools.

With elections approaching, it’s imperative that we know where candidates stand on women’s rights and their commitment to preserving the true spirit of Title IX. We cannot allow the elimination of women and girls from policies meant to protect and empower them, nor can we violate the rights of those who have closely held religious beliefs. Our representatives must be dedicated to upholding the rights of all individuals while ensuring that women’s voices are heard and respected in every aspect of society.

In Loudoun County, we value equality, fairness, and the integrity of women’s rights and religious rights. It is imperative that our representatives — those in office now and those running for office — be committed to fighting tirelessly to preserve the true spirit of Title IX and ensuring that the rights of all students are upheld without erasing the progress we’ve made in advancing women’s rights.



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