Gender Equality


House passes bill banning transgender athletes from competing in federally funded women's sports

House passes bill banning transgender athletes from competing in federally funded women's sports
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The United States House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would prevent transgender athletes who were biologically born male to compete in girls' or women's sports teams at federally funded schools or universities. The bill passed along party lines in the Republican-controlled House, 219-203. However, it is unlikely to pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Joe Biden said he would veto the bill if it did.

The bill, known as “The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act" or H.R. 734, would amend Title IV and make it a violation for "federally funded education programs or activities to operate, sponsor, or facilitate athletic programs or activities that allow individuals of the male sex to participate in programs or activities that are designated for women or girls. Under the bill, sex is based on an individual's reproductive biology and genetics at birth."

Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), who introduced and sponsored the bill on Feb. 1, 2023, said that "the integrity of women's sports must be protected." He also noted that a resident of his district, Emma Weyant, lost to Lia Thomas in the NCAA women's 500-yard freestyle championship in 2022.

Thomas competed on the Penn men's team before her transition and competed on the women's team in 2021-22. She met the NCAA standards for competition after she underwent testosterone suppression therapy for more than two years. After Thomas' victory, the international organization that oversees the sport of swimming ruled that transgender athletes cannot compete in female sports unless they underwent transition before the age of 12.

As recently as this past March, the World Athletics Council voted to exclude transgender women who "have gone through male puberty" from female world-ranking track events.

The American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, called the bill "the first of many attacks on the freedom of transgender people to be who they are." Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wa.) said that the bill "tell[s] some of the most vulnerable children in our country that they do not belong."

The White House said in a statement Monday that "if the President were presented with H.R. 734, he would veto it."


"At a time when transgender youth already face a nationwide mental health crisis, with half of transgender youth in a recent survey saying they have seriously considered suicide, a national law that further stigmatizes these children is completely unnecessary, hurts families and students, and would only put students at greater risk,” the White House added. “Discrimination has no place in our nation’s schools or on our playing fields."


Photo: Reuters/Elizabeth Frantz
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