Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) introduced legislation on Thursday that would determine compliance with Title IX on the basis of biological sex at birth, obstructing participation in women’s sports for transgender women and girls.
Said Gabbard in a statement: “Title IX was a historic provision championed by Hawai‘i’s own Congresswoman Patsy Mink in order to provide equal opportunity for women and girls in high school and college sports. 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. 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.”
Added Mullin: “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. 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 lawmaker’s also made clear their intentions in a background paragraph: “Since its creation, Title IX has been confronted by various challenges, often resulting in nuanced or situational solutions to the circumstances. This has included considering the fairness of an individual of one sex to play on a team designated for another sex when no such team is available to the individual, such as women’s field hockey or men’s football. This bill protects the sex-based intention of Title IX protections by reaffirming the biological sex-based distinctions between men and women in athletics.”
Sports Illustrated notes that it’s not the first time legislation has tried to block transgender athletes: “In April, Idaho banned trans athletes from women’s sports, though the state is being sued by Boise State track and field athlete Lindsay Hecox. In May, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights decided that allowing transgender athletes to compete in Connecticut high school sports violated the civil rights of female athletes. The Supreme Court ruled in June, however, that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is classified alongside sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. If passed, the new bill would make it a violation for institutions that receive federal funding to ‘permit a person whose biological sex at birth is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.'”