Hawaii Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has introduced the controversial anti-trans “Protect Women’s Sports Act” bill.

Former 2020 Presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, introduced a highly criticised bill which directly targets female trans athletes.

Gabbard’s bill calls for the biological sex of athletic individuals to be determined, which could jeopardise Title IX protections for trans female athletes.

Interestingly, the crux of Gabbard’s bill rests on questionable language when addressing the topics of sex. For example, the “basis of biological sex” which is dismissive of an individual’s identity and stems heavily into transphobia.

Anti-trans rhetoric and legislation has become increasingly common across legislation and proposed bills. Gabbard’s “Protect Women’s Sports Act” was introduced alongside Oklahoma Republican congressional representative Markwayne Mullin, which claims to protect and preserve female sports.

A similar act to Gabbard’s was also introduced by US Senators Kelly Loeffler, which was backed by Republican senators Mike Lee, Marsha Blackburn, James Lankford, and Tom Cotton this September.

Titled the Protections of Women and Girls in Sports Act, the proposal stated it would be a violation for institutions that receive federal funding to support athletic programs to “permit a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.”

In a statement, Loeffler showed open support for the act: “I’m proud to lead this legislation (Protections of Women and Girls in Sports Act) to ensure girls of all ages can enjoy those same opportunities. This commonsense bill protects women and girls by safeguarding fairness and leveling the athletic field that Title IX guarantees.”

While Loeffler’s act remains to be voted on, Gabbard’s has formally been introduced to the House. Gabbard released a statement speaking on the impact of her bill: “[Title IX] led to a generational shift that impacted countless women, creating life-changing opportunities for girls and women that never existed before.

“Title IX is being weakened by some states who are misinterpreting Title IX, creating uncertainty, undue hardship and lost opportunities for female athletes.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has a murky reputation when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community.

The politician formerly worked for her father, Hawaii state Senator Mike Gabbard, and his anti-gay organization The Alliance for Traditional Marriage which actively advocated against same-sex marriage in Hawaii. 

Gabbard’s reputation has been held under ever growing criticism following her 2020 presidential campaign. It has been revealed this is not her first round of comments that has threatened the LGBTQ+ community.

In 2002, while first running for office, Gabbard stated her goal was to “protect traditional marriage.” Since then, the Democrat has backtracked on her position and publicly apologised in 2019 a video for opinions she held.

“In my past I said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, they were very hurtful to people in the LGBTQ community and to their loved ones,” Gabbard said in the video-recorded statement. 

“My views have changed significantly since then and my record in Congress over the last six years reflects what is in my heart: a strong and ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ rights,” she continued. 

While Gabbard has tried to force reparations on her reputation, it will take more than spotlighting a signed Supreme Court amicus brief (which challenged the Defense of Marriage Act) in 2013 to prove genuine support towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Now any attempt made in an effort to appeal to the queer community will be heavily overshadowed by Gabbard’s blatantly transphobic bill, which is unlikely to succeed the Democratic weight in House. However, the bill is an unfortunate reminder of how sports are continually being gate kept.