Apr 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House Republicans pass transgender sports ban bill

Counter-protestors gather to support transgender swimmer Lia Thomas at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 17, 2022 in Atlanta, Ga. Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

House Republicans on Thursday passed a bill that would ban transgender women and girls from competing in sports consistent with their gender identity at school.

Why it matters: Although the bill will likely fail in the Democratic-led Senate and President Biden has vowed to veto the measure, it underscores GOP lawmakers' continued efforts to elevate the debate over transgender athletes' participation in school sports to the national stage.

  • The House measure, which passed on a 219-203 vote, is the latest effort by GOP-led states to bar transgender girls from participating in school sports that align with their gender identity.

Driving the news: The bill, called the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act" and introduced by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), makes it a violation of Title IX to allow individuals assigned male at birth to participate in programs designated for women or girls.

  • Democrats have opposed the bill, including Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), the chair of the Equality Caucus.
  • "Trans kids deserve the right to be equal members of their school communities, learn sportsmanship, and challenge themselves outside of the classroom, including by participating in school sports," Pocan said in a statement.
  • The White House statement of administration policy for the bill said: "Discrimination has no place in our nation’s schools or on our playing fields."

Zoom out: The Biden administration unveiled a proposed rule earlier this month that would prevent a categorical ban on trans athletes at any school or college that receives federal funding.

  • A group of 40 elite athletes, including Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, signed a letter opposing the Republican-led sports bill earlier this month.
  • "Every single child should have access to the lifesaving power of sports," the letter reads.

Go deeper... Four big developments in the trans sports debate

Go deeper