Former presidential candidate and outgoing Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has introduced a bill that would effectively block biological males who identify as transgender women from competing in women’s sports at federally funded schools.
The “Protect Women’s Sports Act” says that “To provide that for purposes of determining compliance with title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in athletics, sex shall be determined on the basis of biological sex as determined at birth by a physician.”
“Given the average difference in abilities conferred by biological sex, this bill would clarify Title IX protections for female athletes is based on biological sex,” according to a news release posted on Gabbard’s website.
“This bill protects the sex-based intention of Title IX protections by reaffirming the biological sex-based distinctions between men and women in athletics,” the release said.
Gabbard said in a statement that the bill “protects title IX’s original intent.”
“Title IX was a historic provision championed by Hawaii’s own Congresswoman Patsy Mink in order to provide equal opportunity for women and girls in high school and college sports,” she said. “It led to a generational shift that impacted countless women, creating life-changing opportunities for girls and women that never existed before. However, Title IX is being weakened by some states who are misinterpreting Title IX, creating uncertainty, undue hardship and lost opportunities for female athletes.
“Our legislation protects Title IX’s original intent which was based on the general biological distinction between men and women athletes based on sex,” she added. “It is critical that the legacy of Title IX continues to ensure women and girls in sports have the opportunity to compete and excel on a level playing field.”
According to Sports Illustrated, the bill would prohibit federally funded schools from allowing “a person whose biological sex at birth is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.”
Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, who co-sponsored the bipartisan bill, indicated it is long past time to protect the opportunities intended to be afforded women by Title IX.
Do you think biological males who identify as transgender should be allowed to compete in women’s sports?
“Title IX was designed to give women and girls an equal chance to succeed, including in sports. Allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports diminishes that equality and takes away from the original intent of Title IX,” he said.
“As the father of three girls involved in athletics, I want them to be able to compete on a level playing field. I am proud to lead this bill that will safeguard the integrity of women’s sports and ensure female athletes can compete fairly.”
The fate of the legislation is uncertain. Gabbard will not be in the new Congress next year. Mullin, however, was re-elected in November to a fourth term.
The Gabbard-Mullin bill is similar to one introduced in the Senate in September by Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia. The legislation was co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
The “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act,” would strip schools that allow biological males to compete in women’s sports of their federal funding.
“Title IX established a fair and equal chance for women and girls to compete, and sports should be no exception,” Loeffler said in a statement on her website.
“As someone who learned invaluable life lessons and built confidence playing sports throughout my life, I’m proud to lead this legislation to ensure girls of all ages can enjoy those same opportunities,” Loeffler said. “This commonsense bill protects women and girls by safeguarding fairness and leveling the athletic field that Title IX guarantees.”
“Men and women are biologically different,” Lee added. “That’s just a scientific fact. For the safety of female athletes and for the integrity of women’s sports, we must honor those differences on a fair field of competition.”
Conservative leaders applauded the Senate legislation.
“I applaud Sen. Loeffler for introducing the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act,’” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “Allowing boys to play on girls’ sports teams is unfair and it poses increased physical risk to girls, particularly at the high school and college levels. Sen. Loeffler’s bill will help ensure that girls are afforded the opportunity to play on a level playing field.”
“As a mother of a young girl, I never want to see my daughter out-competed or endangered by policies allowing biological males onto women’s sports teams. And I am not alone,” said Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America.
“The American people oppose the extremists who want to force ideology on the nation at the expense of women and girls. I applaud Senator Loeffler for advancing the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act and standing strong for American women.”