Democrat Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii proposed legislation that aims to prevent biological males from participating in female athletic events.
On Thursday, Gabbard and Republican Representative Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma introduced the “Protect Women’s Sports Act” (H.R.8932). The bi-partisan bill seeks to protect “the sex-based intention of Title IX protections by reaffirming the biological sex-based distinctions between men and women in athletics.”
If passed, according to Sports Illustrated, the act 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.’”
The Daily Wire’s, Ryan Saavedra reports that the introduced legislation would “specify that Title IX…be applied based on a person’s biological sex as determined at birth by a physician.”
In a press release Gabbard delineated that Title IX was “championed” by Hawaii’s own Congresswoman Patsy Mink, and it was designed to “provide equal opportunity for women and girls in high school and college sports.”
Gabbard conceded in the press release that, “[Title IX] led to a generational shift that impacted countless women, creating life-changing opportunities for girls and women that never existed before.”
“However,” she contends, it is now “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,” Gabbard concludes, “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.”
Passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Sports Illustrated notes that transgender participation in athletic events has recently caused various branches of the government to disagree with one another.
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.Sports Illustrated | December 10, 2020
The press release also provides background information on Title IX:
“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.”Press Release | December 10, 2020
According to Mullin, permitting biological males to compete in women’s sports “diminishes” the equality that Title IX purports to provide and “takes away from the original intent of Title IX.”
“As the father of three girls involved in athletics,” said Mullin in the press release, “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.”
According to Congress.Gov, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.