The Republican-controlled House passed legislation on 20 April that would see transgender women and girls banned from competing in certain female school athletics.
The bill, which was authored by Rep. Greg Steube, would alter Title IX to prohibit schools and universities that receive federal funding from allowing those “whose sex is male” to take part in sports teams for women or girls.
The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act would see such a ban implemented under the guise of protecting women’s sports.
“You should hang your heads in shame,” said Massachusetts congresswoman Katherine Clark, the House Democratic whip, when she spoke during a debate.
She added that anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being pushed by Republicans would further “incite fear and discrimination and hatred” against trans youth across the US.
“What are we doing here?” she continued. “What are we doing here as members of Congress?”
Democrats in the House unanimously voted against the bill in a strictly party-line vote, with it expected to make no progress in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The White House also said President Joe Biden would veto the measure entirely if it ever made it to his desk, explaining that the bill “targets people for who they are and therefore is discriminatory”.
Majority of Republicans believe attacks on LGBTQ+ rights are excessive
US voters across the political spectrum, including Republicans, believe anti-LGBTQ+ legislation to be “excessive, political theatre” designed to increase division, according to findings from research recently conducted by Data for Progress.
The poll found that “72% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans think that there is ‘too much legislation’ aimed at limiting the rights of transgender and gay people in America.”
With more than 400 separate bills already making their way through various state legislatures this year alone, it was also found that a majority of voters in the US believe the Republican Party is using LGBTQ+ rights as a “wedge issue” to gain political advantage and/or sow division.
“Political leaders should not hesitate to call out Republicans on their manipulative political tactics,” said Data for Progress pollsters Erin Thomas, Grace Adcox and Lew Blank in a blog post. “Furthermore, they should use their platform to make the country more aware of queer people and queer issues.”
They added that the Democratic Party “should be doing more to advocate for queer and trans people” as bills continue to target their rights.
This was reflected in the poll, as 56% of likely Democratic voters said the Party should be doing more, while 63% of Independent or third-party voters agreed.
Republican narratives surrounding trans identities also appear to be unpopular among potential voters, as 57% agree “that transgender identities occur naturally when free societies permit individuals to identify outside of societal norms, whereas only 33 percent view transgender identities as a ‘woke’ invention.”