Addressing Gender Identity Inclusion in Title IX at Town Hall

The North Shelby Library was filled with individuals from diverse political affiliations on July 1st, all gathered together for a town hall meeting focused on the new Title IX revisions. The revisions provide crucial protections for LGBTQ+ and transgender students, making this an important topic for discussion.

The conservative political organizations Moms for Liberty of Alabama and LOCAL Alabama sponsored a town hall meeting, which had an esteemed panel of speakers including Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, Rep. Susan DuBose, and Matt Sharp from the Alliance Defending Freedom.

After the panelists wrapped up their speeches, the audience was given an opportunity to ask questions by writing them down on cards. These cards were then carefully screened, and the selected questions were directed towards the speakers.

Emily Jones, the chair of the Moms of Liberty chapter in Madison County, explained that the recent town hall meeting aimed to inform the community about the updated revisions to Title IX as announced by the U.S. Department of Education.

According to Jones, Moms for Liberty places a strong emphasis on educating parents about their rights and how to safeguard them. The Title IX town hall meeting is a prime example of this educational approach. It is designed to inform parents about the meaning and implications of Title IX, thereby helping them to better understand and protect their rights.

Title IX, which was put into effect in 1972, serves as a safeguard against gender-based discrimination within educational programs and activities that receive federal funding. Its reach extends beyond discrimination in recruitment and admissions, to encompass areas such as sex-based harassment, sexual assault, and athletics.

The U.S. Department of Education made revisions to certain portions of Title IX on April 19, 2024, with the aim of strengthening protections for individuals who have been sexually assaulted and to include safeguards for LGBTQ+ and transgender students.

During the town hall meeting, the speakers focused on the updated version of Title IX, which covers a wide range of areas. However, their main concern was to address the newly added definition of sexual discrimination, which now includes gender identity discrimination. The speakers also voiced their opposition to the new rules of Title IX, which prevent policies that hinder students from participating in educational programs that align with their gender identity.

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DuBose expressed her belief at the town hall that these changes will harm cisgender women.

According to DuBose, the progress made with Title IX over the past 50 years is at risk of being eliminated by the Biden administration’s proposed redefinition of sex to include gender identity. DuBose argues that by asserting that Title IX prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, the administration’s revised definition would compel schools to allow men who identify as women to take women’s scholarships and gain access to women’s private facilities, including athletic teams, locker rooms, and single-sex dormitories.

The proposed updates to Title IX are expected to take effect on August 1, 2024. However, the regulation has faced temporary blockades in various states such as Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Steve Marshall, the Attorney General of Alabama, is optimistic about Alabama’s chances of joining the list of states that are opposing the latest Title IX changes. According to Marshall, the new regulations threaten to nullify two laws in Alabama relating to bathrooms and athletics.

Marshall expressed his confidence by saying, “We are confident in our position, and we believe that the judge will rule in our favor. The rulings in Louisiana and Kentucky, which have been influential in several states, are very persuasive and compelling. In Alabama, we have an even stronger case.”

During the town hall meeting, Connor McGarty, a member of the audience, voiced his opinion that highlighting the matter of trans individuals in sports is merely a pretext to impede the protection of LGBTQ+ rights.

According to McGarty, it is quite evident that certain individuals are utilizing athletics as a means to impose their own beliefs of gender conformity and ideology. He believes that these individuals prefer to use athletics as a straightforward example to prevent people from freely expressing themselves.

DuBose clarifies that her efforts to preserve single-sex spaces through legislation are not intended to deprive transgender individuals of their rights.

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DuBose emphasized that the legislation is not aimed at taking away any rights from people. On the contrary, it is designed to ensure that everyone in Alabama feels welcome and valued.

DuBose argues that one’s gender identity does not affect their biological sex, despite common beliefs.

According to DuBose, it takes courage to assert that sex is unchangeable, and that there exist only two sexes, male and female. He further added that gender identity is distinct from sex, and that the difference between males and females is established at birth and bestowed upon us by the divine.

According to DuBose, the recent implementation of Title IX regulations, which forbid gender-based harassment, may negatively affect students who choose not to use pronouns and names that align with their gender identity.

DuBose stated that she does not want to compel students to use pronouns that are scientifically and biblically incorrect, as it would be equivalent to lying. She emphasized that in Alabama, they will uphold the truth and not succumb to falsehood.

According to Matt Sharp, a speaker from the Alliance Defending Freedom, the clarification of new rules stating that refusing to use preferred pronouns could be deemed as gender-based harassment would be a violation of the First Amendment.

Sharp emphasized that despite the varying opinions in the room, the fundamental aspect of freedom lies in the individual’s right to express their beliefs without being coerced by the government to conform to a particular ideology. “This is the core principle that we are advocating for,” he stated.

Sharp crafted an allegory that depicts a teacher facing professional consequences for refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns.

Following the town hall meeting, McGarty put forth a counterargument stating that the aforementioned instance did not fall under the purview of freedom of speech. He stressed that while the First Amendment may allow individuals to express their opinions freely in a workplace setting, there could still be consequences for their behavior.

McGarty stated that discussions around free speech are being brought up in a context where it does not apply. According to him, teacher employment contracts do not fall under the umbrella of free speech. He emphasized that one cannot simply say anything they want in a school setting without facing any consequences. McGarty further added that the motives behind these discussions seem to be centered around suppressing alternative perspectives and ways of thinking.

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After the speakers concluded their presentations, the audience was given the opportunity to submit questions on note cards. The event hosts carefully screened the cards and selected the most relevant questions to be directed towards the panel.

Janelle Samson, a member of the audience, shared her frustration with the question and answer format, stating that she believed it led to an unequal representation of opinions being expressed.

Samson expressed disappointment in the meeting format, saying, “I expected more of a discussion where everyone had an equal say, or at least a chance for those who didn’t rent the space to share their opinions. It didn’t seem to encourage much discussion at all.”

Sandy Lauriello, an audience member, expressed that she found the town hall session informative, along with many others at the end of the night.

Lauriello expressed that they received numerous responses to their queries. The community has been curious about the actions of Biden and the schools. The ultimate concern is the safety of their children. The aim is to unite and facilitate learning, which holds utmost importance. All in all, the responses have been significant.

Joan Reynolds, the Chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party, also found the event to be informative and a valuable lesson on the topic of federal overreach.

Reynolds expressed his thoughts on the recent information, stating that it was highly informative and much-needed for everyone. He emphasized the importance of fighting against the federal government’s encroachment and continuing to do so.

On August 12th at 6 p.m., the North Shelby Library town hall speakers will hold another presentation on the same topic. This time, the presentation will take place at the Guntersville Recreation Center in Marshall County, Alabama.

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