On Oct. 27, Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J., of Oakland, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Catholic Education, and Bishop David A. Konderla of Tulsa, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, wrote a letter to members of Congress supporting the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2020, S. 4649 and H.R. 5702. This bill, with one version in each the Senate and House of Representatives, would prevent entities that receive federal funds under Title IX from permitting male students to participate in athletic programs designated for women and girls.

“True education aims at the formation of the human person as a unity of body, soul and spirit,” the bishop chairmen reflected. “As Pope Francis has said, ‘The Church is interested in sport because the person is at her heart, the whole person, and she recognizes that sports activity affects the formation, relations, and spirituality of a person.’”

“Youth who experience gender identity discordance should be assured the right to participate in, or try-out for, student athletics on the same terms as any of their peers, in co-educational activities or, where sexes are separated, in accord with their given sex. Harassment or unjust discrimination against them in this regard is unequivocally immoral.”

“Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was a needed landmark to establish equal educational opportunities for women and girls. But any time a policy facilitating such male competition takes an athletic opportunity away from a female,” they continued, writing of policies admitting males into female-designated athletic programs, “it is a loss for basic fairness and the spirit of Title IX.”

“We can do better by all students, and should continue to uphold the progress made with Title IX in promoting the opportunities for women and girls.”

The full text of the letter may be found at https://www.usccb.org/resources/Letter-in-Support-of-the-Protection-of-Women-and-Girls-in-Sports-Act.pdf.