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President Joe Biden signs his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP) President Joe Biden signs his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP)

President Joe Biden signs his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP)

Monique Curet
By Monique Curet February 2, 2021

Biden administration did not dictate specific changes to sports

If Your Time is short

• President Joe Biden issued an executive order that prohibits discrimination based on gender and sexuality in education, housing and immigration.

• The order extends protections from a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that addressed discrimination in employment. 

• The executive order does not mandate any immediate changes that would affect sports participation. 

President Joe Biden issued a flurry of executive orders in his first days in office, and claims quickly followed about the results of those actions. 

One Facebook post read, "In 36 hours Biden has disgraced our National Guard, allowed males to compete in girls’ sports, opened our border, and has crushed our oil production." 

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

For this fact-check, we focused on the claim about sports. PolitiFact has checked claims related to the other issues and found them all to be false or mostly false. That includes this claim that Democrats forced the National Guard to sleep in a parking garage; a claim that Biden questioned the National Guard’s loyalty; a claim that Biden sparked a migrant caravan from Honduras because of his immigration policies; and a claim that Biden has banned fracking, a process used to extract oil and gas from the ground. 

The claim that Biden "allowed males to compete in girls sports" likely stems from  an executive order from the Biden administration titled "Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation." 

Shortly after the order was issued, Twitter users began discussing its potential effect on women in sports, and the hashtag #BidenErasedWomen was trending, Newsweek reported.

But the idea that the order will allow transgender females — whose sex at birth was male but whose gender identity is female — to compete in women’s sports is misguided. The Biden executive order does not impose any new guidelines that would immediately bring changes to school sports, and it only mentions sports once: "Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports." Instead, it requires federal agencies, including the U.S. Education Department, to review existing policies and programs to determine whether they are in line with the new guidance prohibiting discrimination based on gender and sexuality, and to implement changes if needed.

The Jan. 20 executive order extends protections from a 2020 Supreme Court case that addressed employment law to other federal laws, including those that cover education and school-related activities. In that case, Bostock v. Clayton County, the court ruled that employers cannot fire a person for being gay or transgender because it violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

"Because Title VII is limited to employment discrimination, it was unclear how the Supreme Court’s decision would be applied to other federal discrimination statutes that prohibit sex discrimination in other contexts," according to the National Law Review. "The Biden administration has now stated its view that Bostock applies with equal force." 

That’s a departure from the Trump administration, which had narrowly interpreted the Bostock case and determined it did not apply to education-related discrimination policies.

It’s possible that the executive order could result in changes that affect transgender participation in sports, the National Law Review reports: "The current administration will likely implement major changes related to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. This may include requiring schools to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity, and to play on athletic teams that are consistent with their gender identity. " 

The publication also notes, though, that the executive order "is a high level policy statement and does not, in and of itself, immediately change any practices for public school districts."

Our ruling 

A Facebook post says Biden has "allowed males to compete in girls’ sports." The claim seems to be based on an executive order Biden issued that prohibits discrimination based on gender and sexuality in education, but that opponents say will allow transgender females to compete in women’s sports.

The executive order does not propose changes to policies or include details about specific programs such as sports. It mandates that federal agencies review programs and policies to be sure they do not discriminate, and to make changes if needed. 

We rate this claim False.

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Biden administration did not dictate specific changes to sports

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