Federal legislation to ban transgender women and girls from competing on sports teams for women and girls will be heard for the first time Wednesday morning, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce announced Monday.
The “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act,” introduced in February by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), seeks to amend Title IX — the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination — to recognize sex as that which is “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
It is the third time Steube has introduced the legislation, which failed to pass during the last two Congresses, when Democrats controlled the House. A discharge petition filed in April by Steube and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) to bring last year’s bill to the House floor garnered only 187 signatures, falling short of the 218 needed to force a vote.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has on multiple occasions signaled his support for the legislation, which now stands a better chance of passing in the House’s new Republican majority. House Education and Labor Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) has also voiced support for Steube’s bill.
In a statement last month, Steube said transgender female athletes have “no place in women’s sports” and accused Lia Thomas, the former University of Pennsylvania swimmer who last year became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I championship, of “robbing” second-place finisher Emma Weyant, a cisgender woman, of the title.
The question of whether transgender women and girls should be allowed to compete on sports teams for women and girls has invaded meeting rooms across the country over the past year, with professional organizations, local sports associations and even individual school districts adopting policies that restrict the ability of transgender athletes to compete on teams in accordance with their gender identity.
Eighteen states since 2020 have enacted laws that bar transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity, though preliminary injunctions are currently blocking the enforcement of bans in Idaho, West Virginia, Indiana and Utah.
Legislators in more than a dozen states this year have introduced similar measures. The Wyoming legislature passed a bill last week to prohibit transgender girls from competing on middle school and high school sports teams, sending the measure to Gov. Mark Gordon (R) for final approval.
In a statement on Monday, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), the chairman of the Congressional Equality Caucus, condemned Steube’s bill and accused Republicans of attempting to “demonize” LGBTQ people.
“This is not about girls’ and women’s sports; it’s about attacking trans kids,” Pocan said.
House Bill 734 has been endorsed by several conservative groups, including the Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Principles Project, the Family Policy Alliance and the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and its embattled chairman, Matt Schlapp, are also backing Steube’s bill. In February, Schlapp said failing to pass the measure in Congress would send a message to Democrats that “their henchmen can turn the whole country into their woke nightmare.”
Schlapp and CPAC last week also threw their support behind Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) “Protect Children’s Innocence Act,” which would make it a felony for doctors to provide gender-affirming health care to transgender minors. Greene is slated to introduce the bill, which she failed to pass during the last Congress, this week.