House GOP Passes Restrictions on Transgender Athletes

Democrats have promised to keep it from becoming law
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2023 3:05 PM CDT
Transgender Athlete Restriction Clears House With GOP Support
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik speaks Wednesday as GOP women members hold an event before the vote to prohibit transgender women and girls from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity, at the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Legislation to keep transgender student athletes off women’s sports teams cleared the House on Thursday, pushed through by Republicans on a 219-203 vote. It would bar transgender women and girls from competing on female athletic teams at schools receiving federal funding, Politico reports, though they could train or practice with the teams "so long as no female" loses a slot, scholarship, or other benefit as a result. The bill, which the Hill reports floundered during the previous three Congresses, would amend Title IX to define sex as based only on a person's reproductive biology and genetics at birth. But it won't become law this time around, with Democrats controlling the Senate and President Biden saying he would veto the measure if it were sent to him.

Republican Rep. Nancy Mace succeeded in adding an amendment requiring the Government Accountability Office to study what the amendment calls "the adverse" effects of transgender girls playing sports. "Republicans are following the science," she said during debate, adding, "we ought to protect biological women and girls and their athletics and their achievements." Democrats were critical, per NBC News. "We know transgender students already face widespread bullying and discrimination," said Rep. Mark Takano. "Adding to their pain by targeting their participation in school sports is both wrong and dangerous."

The president of the Human Rights Campaign said that with the bill having no possibility of becoming law, "this is purely a waste of time at the expense of an already marginalized population." The bill is in line with more than 20 new laws approved by states. Of the members voting, all Republicans were a yes and all Democrats were a no, though 10 Democrats and 3 Republicans sat it out. The chair of the Democratic Women's Caucus objected to Republicans using "'protecting women' as an excuse to attack trans youth." Lois Frankel said GOP members "have refused to work with us on addressing real gender equity issues." (The Biden administration has proposed its own Title IX changes.)

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