House Republicans pass brutish bill banning trans athletes from women’s sports

A person holds up a sign reading "We support trans/queer athletes" during a counter-protest

The House of Representatives has passed a Republican-backed bill that would ban trans women across America from participating in school athletic programs for females.

The legislation is named the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act. This bill would prohibit federally funded education programs from allowing trans women to participate in sports programs. The bill defines sex as “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”

It passed in the House with 219 Republicans voting for it, and 203 Democrats voting to oppose the legislation.

Representative Aaron Bean, Republican of Florida made a bold declaration that the legislation is a “battle for the very survival of women’s sports.”

Representative John W. Rose, Republican of Tennessee, co-signed Bean’s statement, stating: “Biological males ought to compete against biological males, and biological females ought to compete against biological females.

“Most Tennesseans consider this to be common sense.”

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Democrats have dubbed the bill “hateful” and have fought against the exclusion of transgender children in school sport programs.

The legislation is unlikely to advance further because – to become law – it would need to pass the Democratic-led Senate, which will not support it, and the White House, which has already said President Joe Biden would veto the bill.

The White House released a statement saying that it would oppose such legislation.

“Politicians should not dictate a one-size-fits-all requirement that forces coaches to remove kids from their teams,” it read.

President Joe Biden
The Biden administration has proposed halting blanket bans on trans pupils in sport, but would still allow exclusions in certain cases. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, whose daughter is transgender said: “These bills tell some of the most vulnerable children in our country that they do not belong.

“Don’t use our kids as punching bags and put them in danger.”

The Biden administration added: “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 Biden administration has proposed its own rules which would limit bans targeting transgender and non-binary athletes.

However the proposal would leave room for schools to implement rules determining eligibility criteria that could include some restrictions against trans athletes, noting “fairness in competition” and “competitive high school and college athletic environments” where “some schools may adopt policies that limit transgender students’ participation.”

This new Republican vote is one of many legislations that have been proposed to ban transgender girls from participating in sports, as trans people continue to be used by the GOP as political fodder in an ongoing culture war.

In 2019, there were no state laws banning transgender youths from participating in school sports; in 2023 there have already been bans in 19 states.

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