In addition to the Biden administration’s proposed rule that was announced last week (see below), the House voted on H.R. 734 the Protecting Women and Girls in Sports Act on Thursday, April 20, 2023. The bill passed along party lines in a 219-203 vote. The bill is not expected to pass in the Senate or to be signed by President Biden, but it signifies that the issue remains a top concern for House Republicans and nationwide.
The bill is the first of its kind that restricts transgender rights to be debated on the house floor. It proposes to ban transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports that align with their gender identity if their sex assigned at birth is male under Title IX. It would also withhold funding from schools that violate this proposal. Transgender athletes would only be allowed to practice on a women’s or girls’ team as long as it does not restrict females from competitive opportunities. More information from the bill’s markup period can be found here.
Representative Pramila Jayapal [D-WA], who has a transgender daughter argued during a floor debate that the bill does not actually protect women and girls: “If Republicans cared about that they would not be voting against equal pay, against paid sick leave, against universal childcare. The way that this bill targets children in the name of gender equality is insulting.” She also argues that enforcing a rule like this would be nearly impossible to enforce and could result in invasive examinations. In response, House Democrats including Jayapal and Rep. Mark Takano [D-CA] are fighting back against this legislation by reintroducing a Transgender Bill of Rights proposal.
LGBTQ rights groups including the Human Rights Campaign, and other women’s organizations like the National Women’s Law Center and the Women’s Sports Foundation have come out in strong opposition to the bill.
By Ava Cloghessy, Policy Intern