A congressional Republican has put forward a controversial bill which would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports.
Representative Greg Steube recently introduced bill H.R. 426, which is more commonly known as the ‘Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2021’.
Steube’s proposed legislation is angled at being compliant with existing law, specifically title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
The federal law prohibits sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
However, the Republican is campaigning for an individual’s sex to be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.
The new bill would also threaten any government federal funding.
H.R. 426 states: “It shall be a violation of subsection for a recipient of Federal funds who operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs or activities to permit a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program 9 or activity that is designated for women or girls.”
The Florida representative issued a media statement last Thursday (21 January) that drove home a message of “protecting” young girls and women from “unfair policies”.
“By forcing biological female athletes to compete against biological male athletes in competitive sports, we are taking away women’s opportunities on and off the field,” the press release read.
“These unfair policies discount the hard work and determination put in by our female athletes and give biological male athletes an unfair advantage in joining teams, setting records and earning scholarships.”
Concerns around the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act have risen as the bill doesn’t offer an explanation of how a student’s “reproductive biology” would be checked, but it does not rule out any possibility of screenings or exams.
Steube’s introduced bill is eerily similar to new last-minute guidance which was introduced by the Trump Administration earlier this month.
On Friday (8 January), the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights stated that LGBTQ+ students are not included in the entire protections of Title IX.
It was stated that the Office of Civil Rights should take consideration of specific cases of discrimination under the Title IX civil rights law. In LGBTQ+ cases, this means “sex” should be interpreted as “biological sex”, specifically “male” or “female”.
Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance.
However, the ruling holds exceptions which includes “sex-separate activities” and “intimate facilities” separately provided on the basis of biological sex or for members of each biological sex.
While bill H.R. 426 has stirred up emotions and caused upset, many believe it is unlikely that the legislation will gain enough political backing to come up for a vote in the Democratic House.
Even if it did, the proposal is in direct contrast to the pro-LGBTQ+ initiative President Biden has taken.
On January 25, President Biden signed an executive order to repeal the ban at a ceremony with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who said he believes that “if you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve.”
In his first day in office, Biden also signed an executive order enforcing the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on protections for LGBTQ+ workers.
The landmark 6-3 ruling back in June ruled that federal civil rights laws protecting LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination.