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Trump administration forces university to start discriminating against trans athletes to the delight of transphobes everywhere

Nick Duffy October 20, 2020
US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has overseen an anti-trans campaign within the Trump administration

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has overseen an anti-trans campaign within the Trump administration (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce University has agreed to abolish its trans-inclusive policy for athletics, after pressure from the Trump administration and anti-LGBT+ activists.

The university agreed to ditch its trans inclusion policy under an agreement on Saturday (October 17) to head off an investigation by the Trump Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which has previously been accused of “extorting” school districts into dropping trans-inclusive policies.

Under the agreement, the university will rescind its policy permitting transgender athletes to compete in the correct gender category, which was in line with national standards set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The university said in a statement to Outsports: “Franklin Pierce University is committed to an inclusive environment for all of its students.

“We regret that we were required to rescind the transgender participation and inclusion policy we adopted and put forward based on the NCAA’s model, but have made this move to comply with a resolution agreement with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos poses with Donald Trump and Mike Pence
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos poses with Donald Trump and Mike Pence (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The statement stressed that the university disagrees “with the position that the federal administration has taken with respect to trans-inclusive athletics participation”, which it notes is consistent with the  NCAA’s policy of transgender student-athlete participation.”

The university adds: “Franklin Pierce University and the Department of Athletics will continue to support all students and student-athletes.”

Anti-LGBT+ activists are thrilled with the move.

In addition to legal action from the Trump administration, the university had also been facing legal action from Concerned Women for America, a listed anti-LGBT+ hate group which has previously claimed that same-sex marriage “entices children to experiment with homosexuality” and that homosexuality “carries enormous physical and mental health risks”.

CWA head Penny Nance was jubilant about the university’s climbdown, claiming in a release: “This resolution agreement is the first victory for college female athletes being forced to compete on an unfair playing field against males claiming transgender status and competing in women’s sports.”

Nance added: “Transgender policies have turned Title IX on its head, denying the rights of women and girl athletes to compete only against athletes of the same sex and threatening the future of women’s sports. Federal action against Franklin Pierce University is a warning shot to the NCAA and every college and university in America to back off policies that discriminate against female student-athletes and restore fairness and equity in women’s sports.”

Of course, by abolishing recognition of transgender students, female athletes could now face the risk of being forced to compete against burly transgender men, as they are in other anti-trans areas.

More: betsy devos, Donald Trump, Franklin Pierce University, New Hampshire

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