Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii), and Markwayne Mullin (R., Ok.) introduced a bill on Thursday to “protect women’s sports” by clarifying that federal Title IX rules apply to female athletes based on biological sex, rather than gender identity.
“Our legislation protects Title IX’s original intent which was based on the general biological distinction between men and women athletes based on sex,” Gabbard said in a statement. “It is critical that the legacy of Title IX continues to ensure women and girls in sports have the opportunity to compete and excel on a level playing field.”
The bill follows a series of court cases and state laws over the past year concerning the issue of transgender women who wish to participate in women’s sports programs. In particular, three female Connecticut high school track athletes have sued the state’s education department to prevent biological males from competing in women’s track competitions.
The students cite Title IX anti-discrimination regulations, claiming that the participation of transgender female but biological male athletes has prevented biological female participants from winning competitions.
Mullin commented that “Title IX was designed to give women and girls an equal chance to succeed, including in sports. Allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports diminishes that equality and takes away from the original intent of Title IX.”
There have been attempts in several states to bar biological men from participating in women’s sports through legislation, including Idaho and Arizona. In August, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction on Idaho’s bill on the issue.