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Susan DuBose, UPenn swimmer: You know what a woman is – let’s make sure Alabama law does too

Alabama parents do not share the Biden administration’s goal of creating a society where biological sex is replaced with ‘gender identity’ in our schools or in our daily lives, and we do not agree with the US Department of Educations’ aggressive rewrite of Title IX to redefine women to include any male who identifies as a female.

After 52 years of Title IX safeguarding equality for women’s scholarship, sports and educational opportunities, the Biden administration has dismantled those women’s rights as we know them through a brazen overreach of government authority.

If allowed to stand, the Biden administration’s new Omnibus Title IX regulations will set women back decades, eroding the impressive gains that Title IX ushered in. Sex and gender are not the same, and stripping out sex from Title IX upends all protections for women in education — including the preservation of women’s-only spaces, such as sports locker rooms.

Fortunately, states can and are taking action, and thank goodness in Alabama we know better. Governor Ivey issued a prompt statement standing up for women when she recently said, “Alabama is NOT implementing President Biden’s offensive, unlawful and dangerous rewrite of Title IX — we’re taking it to the courts! “

Attorney General Steve Marshall was among the first in the nation to stand up to this ill-conceived rule that would infringe on the constitutional rights of students, parents, faculty and the State of Alabama itself, and he fully expects the rule to be struck down swiftly.

This is just one of many battles we can count on to fight in the future as our way of life is challenged by a small but vocal segment of our society that seeks to change the fabric of our lives by redefining words, ignoring what we know to be truth and goodness.

I introduced House Bill 111 to clearly define ‘male’ and ‘female’ terms to provide clarity for the courts and our state agencies. ‘Woman,’ for example, is used in 160 unique Alabama laws. Women and girls in Alabama deserve to live in a state that recognizes and protects their rights and unique differences from men.

Words must have meaning, and my intent is to make sure we have uniform definitions that will stand up to judicial scrutiny and support our state’s position on the meaning of ‘male’, ‘female’, ‘man’ and ‘woman’.

And even though Alabama already has a fairness in sports law, this bill is necessary because it will prevent men who say they identify as women from gaining an unfettered right to enter women’s shelters, be housed in women’s prisons, and join women’s sororities.

HB111, which is being carried in the Senate by Sen. April Weaver (R-Brierfield), will give meaning to common words so that Alabama courts have clarity when interpreting laws that already exist, something I wish that was not necessary but has proven to be crucial to ensuring women don’t lose their sex-based rights.

This bill doesn’t take away anyone’s rights or create any special rights for women. It simply clarifies definitions of words that Alabama is already using in law, so that we are all speaking a common language. And it asserts the state’s interest in maintaining single-sex spaces in order to protect privacy, fairness, safety, and equal opportunity.

The bill only needs a Senate floor vote to pass, and with three working days left, time is of the essence.

Let’s get HB 111 over the legislative finish line and send it to Gov. Ivey’s desk for signature.

Susan DuBose represents Alabama House of Representatives District 45. Paula Scanlan is an Independent Women’s Voice ambassador and a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer.

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