House Republicans pass transgender sports ban for schools
The Republican-controlled House passed legislation Thursday that would ban transgender women and girls from competing in female school athletics — the latest GOP salvo in the intensifying culture wars over transgender rights in America.
The bill, authored by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., would amend Title IX to bar schools that receive federal funding from allowing people “whose sex is male” to participate in sports designated for women or girls.
The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act defines sex as “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
The bill passed on a 219-203 vote, but it will go nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The White House has also said President Joe Biden would veto the measure, which “targets people for who they are and therefore is discriminatory,” if it were to make it to his desk.
Steube called on colleagues to support his bill in a floor speech on Wednesday. “Congress in 1972 created Title IX to protect women’s sports, to enable women to have an equal playing field in athletics, and in worship to their trans idols, the [Biden] administration wants to flip that on its head. It’s insane,” Steube said.
“Parents do not want biological men in locker rooms with their daughters, nor do they believe it’s equitable a male can compete with women in female athletics,” he added.
Democrats have accused Republicans of going after transgender people to build their political brand and raise cash from conservative donors. And they argue Steube’s bill would target and make life harder for people who already struggle with bullying, depression and thoughts of suicide.
The bill “makes school sports less fair by singling out and banning transgender women and girls as young as kindergarten from participating on school sports teams with their friends,” said Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., a leader of the Equality Caucus, which advocates for LGBTQ rights on Capitol Hill.
“We know transgender students already face widespread bullying and discrimination,” he said Wednesday. “Adding to their pain by targeting their participation in school sports is both wrong and dangerous.”
Advocates fight back as legislators ramp up bans on trans student athletes
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Republicans stepped up their political attacks on transgender athletes after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who had competed on the men’s swim team, switched to the women’s team after she came out as a trans woman and became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship.
Since then, more than a dozen GOP-led states have enacted bans on transgender athletes. Republicans have also pushed for state laws to restrict gender-affirming care for transgender minors.
The Biden administration weighed in this month by proposing new regulations that would prohibit categorical bans on trans athletes at schools receiving federal funding but allow some restrictions at more elite levels of competition.
The proposal summary says the rules should take into account differences in age, grade and level of competition.
The Education Department “expects that … elementary school students would generally be able to participate on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity where considerations may be different for competitive high school and college teams,” the summary says.