Bill Advances That Would Block Transgender Girls from Competing on Girls' Teams

Tabatha Wethal Headshot

The U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee passed a bill Thursday that would block transgender girls from competing in school sports consistent with their gender identity, even though transgender student-athletes number very few nationwide.

The bill, H.R. 734, introduced by Rep. Greg Steube, a Florida Republican, would amend Title IX to require student athletes to compete in sports in accordance with "a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth," with the bill’s language specifically targeting transgender girls. 

NC Policy Watch reported that Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, a Democrat, pointed out that transgender students are a small fraction of the population, and even a smaller population when it comes to youths in sports. More than 8 million students compete in high school athletics, and more than 480,000 students compete as National Collegiate Athletic Association athletes, according to the NCAA. There are currently only 32 transgender athletes who openly compete in college sports, Scott said, adding that there are more lawmakers on the committee (45) than college transgender athletes. 

The bill would also make it a Title IX violation for facilities that receive federal funding to allow transgender female athletes to compete in sports designated for women.

After a more than 16-hour markup that lasted from Wednesday morning into early Thursday, the legislation passed 25-17, NC Policy Watch reported. 

The sports legislation is part of a national campaign by Republican lawmakers and conservative groups in the states to restrict the rights of people in the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender youth. 

The chair of the Education and Workforce Committee, Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican, said the bill was the Republican Party’s "commitment to America."

"Men are not women, women are not men,” she said. “They certainly shouldn’t compete against each other in any publicly funded arena."

During the markup, Democrats introduced five amendments, where they argued that several of them would strengthen Title IX, such as protecting athletes’ privacy and providing resources for parents and students to report cases of discrimination. 

But three out of five of those amendments were blocked from a vote because Foxx and the House parliamentarian ruled that the amendments were outside the scope of the original bill. 

The bill will likely pass a Republican-controlled House, but is expected to die in the Senate, where Democrats have a slim majority, NC Policy Watch reported.

There is currently no Senate sponsor for the bill in this Congress, but in the prior one, Sen. Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, introduced the Senate version of the bill. 

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