Florida Republican Greg Steube has formally drafted a bill to bar biological males from competing in women’s sports at college and grade school levels. The bill has been dubbed The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act and will be voted on by House representatives next week. Democrats have already publicly stated they will be voting against the legislation. The bill has been strongly supported by NCAA champion swimmer and women’s rights activist Riley Gaines, who protesters recently assaulted at an event in San Francisco where she argued against transgender men being allowed to compete in women’s sports.
By Peter Kasperowicz; April 11, 2023
House Republicans are setting up a vote next week on legislation aimed at keeping biological males out of girls’ and women’s sports at colleges, universities and public schools across the nation.
The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act was introduced by Rep. Greg Steube, a Florida Republican who says it’s time to “save women’s sports” from biological males who have “no place” competing against women.
The vote comes as the debate over transgender rights and the effect of those rights on American culture continue to stoke controversy. Just last week, NCAA champion swimmer and Independent Women’s Forum spokesperson Riley Gaines was assaulted by protesters at San Francisco State University as she argued against transgender female athletes being allowed to compete against biological female athletes.
Gaines said she supported Steube’s bill when he introduced it this year.
“As an athlete who has experienced the injustice of competing against a male firsthand, I’m grateful for the leadership of Representative Steube,” Gaines wrote. “He has made it clear that he will fight for fairness, privacy, and safety for girls and women in sports.”
Under Steube’s bill, educational institutions that receive Title IX funding from the federal government would not be allowed to “permit a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designed for women or girls.”
The bill says that the sex of an athlete would be recognized only by their “reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” The legislation would allow transgender female athletes to train or practice in a girls’ athletic program, but only if no biological female athlete is deprived of a roster spot.
Steube said his bill is needed to fight back against an invasion of “woke” policies across the country that go against the spirit of Title IX, which was meant to encourage women’s sports.
“The policies of the woke, progressive Left have invaded schools and campuses across America,” Steube wrote in March. “Allowing biological males on women’s sports teams and in their locker rooms creates an unfair competitive environment for female athletes.”
“Americans deserve the opportunity to see where their elected representatives stand on this incredibly important issue,” he added. “I look forward to voting in favor of this legislation to save women’s sports on the House floor very soon.”
The legislation has already split Congress as Democrats have made it clear that most or all of them will oppose the bill on the floor. The House Education and Workforce Committee approved the legislation in a 25-17 vote – every Republican voted for it, and only Democrats voted against it.
Republicans argued that the Biden administration is harming women’s athletics not just by supporting participation by transgender women but by seeking a change to Title IX that would cement the idea that athletic programs must allow transgender athletes to participate in the sport that matches their gender identity.
The House Education and Workforce Committee approved the bill along with a report on the measure that says attempts to allow transgender women to play alongside biological women erodes the purpose of Title IX.
“Allowing men to compete in women’s athletic activities undermines the progress made by women and girls since Title IX’s enactment and uses a groundbreaking antidiscrimination statute to discriminate against the very people it was designed to protect,” the report said.
House GOP leaders are allowing all members to propose amendments to the bill, which must be submitted by this week in order to be considered.