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Controversial changes to U.S. athlete law violates equality rights

Proposed changes in the United States to Title IX education legislation today alerts UN experts to the risk of violating rights to equality and non-discrimination of female student-athletes.

The United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, Reem Alsalem, assured that these changes would have detrimental effects on the participation of these groups in sports.

According to the expert, the proposals could even deny women and girls the option to compete fairly, resulting in the loss of sports opportunities and scholarships.

At the same time, they would contravene the country’s obligations under international human rights law, she added in a statement.

The proposed change to Title IX would also lead to the elimination of intimate spaces, such as separate showers and locker rooms for men and women.

In Alsalem’s view, this means loss of privacy, increased risk of physical injury, increased exposure to sexual harassment and voyeurism.

The initiative could precede more frequent and cumulative psychological distress due to loss of privacy and fair sports practice and equal academic opportunities, he further warned.

In 1972, the U.S. Congress passed legislation, formally known as Title IX of the Education Amendments, to eradicate sex discrimination against women in education.

The rule ensures that girls can enjoy the same educational opportunities as their male counterparts.

However, the proposed changes to the long-standing U.S. law would allow trans-identified men to compete in women’s sports.

In the view of experts, this could cause the U.S. to violate «international human rights obligations.»

The UN rapporteur called on Joe Biden’s administration to implement an alternative policy that protects the guarantees of biologically female and trans-identified athletes.

«Implementing non-invasive means of confirming a student’s gender and establishing open categories would maintain equity in sports for female athletes while expanding participation opportunities for all, including transgender women and girls, to exercise their right to participate in sports,» she argued.

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