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The Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) sent a letter to the United Nations in response to the Biden administration’s sweeping changes to Title IX. 

The brief requested that male participation in female sports be treated as an act of violence against women. The letter was first obtained by the Washington Examiner.

Title IX is a civil rights law that restricts sex discrimination against students, employees and others at public schools, colleges and universities that are federally funded. 

President Biden’s administration released a new set of rules earlier this year. Students and school employees at educational institutions that receive federal funds will begin seeing the Title IX overhaul changes this fall.


United Nations headquarters in Lower Midtown Manhattan (Sergi Reboredo/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Reem Alsalem was one of the recipients of the brief from ICONS, per the Examiner. According to Alsalem’s social media bio, she serves as the U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women and girls.

Alsalem previously took issue with the Title IX provision on the new definition of “‘sex.'”

“The erroneous redefinition of ‘sex’ through these implementing regulations constitutes a grave setback that will increase the vulnerability of the majority of women and girls to incursions into their privacy, including voyeurism, sexual harassment and physical and sexual attacks, by effectively removing single sex spaces,” Alsalem said in a press release last month. 


The brief sent to the U.N. argued certain provisions in the rewrite of Title IX could negatively affect women.

“Title IX was a federal law written to protect women, and the Biden administration has now turned it into a law that protects men at the expense of women,” ICONS co-founders Marshi Smith and Kim Jones told the Washington Examiner. 

“With the stroke of a pen, Biden has reversed congressional intention and turned Title IX into blatant call to subjugate women and girls.”

President Biden (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A federal lawsuit, led by Tennessee and West Virginia, asks a judge to halt and overturn the new policy. Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Virginia joined the lawsuit. It follows other legal challenges filed recently by nine other states, including Alabama, Louisiana and Texas.

Central to the dispute is a new provision expanding Title IX to LGBTQ+ students. The 1972 law forbids discrimination based on sex in education. Under the new rules, Title IX will also protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The states involved say it amounts to an illegal rewriting of the landmark legislation.

They argue it will clash with their own laws, including those restricting which bathrooms and locker rooms transgender students can use, banning them from using facilities that align with their new gender identity.

The U.S. Department of Education has no authority to let boys into girls’ locker rooms,” Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said in a statement. “In the decades since its adoption, Title IX has been universally understood to protect the privacy and safety of women in private spaces like locker rooms and bathrooms.”

The U.S. Department of Education building in Washington, D.C., Aug. 18, 2020. (Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The administration’s new rules broadly protect against discrimination based on sex, but they don’t offer guidance about transgender athletes. The Education Department has promised a separate rule on that issue later.

The policies relating to male athletes’ participation in women’s sports have varied among athletic associations and sports leagues. The NCAA’s approach involved a “sport-by-sport” model as it relates to the accepted amount of chemically altered testosterone levels. Testosterone strengthens muscle tone and bone mass.

“The new policy aligns transgender student-athlete participation with the Olympic Movement. The resulting sport-by-sport approach preserves opportunity for transgender student-athletes while balancing fairness, inclusion and safety for all who compete,” the NCAA said in 2022.


But ICONS argues using “acceptable” testosterone levels as a single indicator is “arbitrary and meaningless.”

“We know that male advantage can never be undone,” Smith and Jones wrote in the letter. “But even if it could, a man that has diminished his athletic ability through manipulation of his hormone levels is not a woman. The erasure of women as a sex class must be stopped.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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