With barely a month left in her congressional term, Tulsi Gabbard is pushing a transphobic piece of legislation before leaving office. As reported by Sports Illustrated, the Hawaii representative has introduced a bill that would “protect women’s sports” based on someone’s “biological sex.”
The central goal of the “Protect Women’s Sports Act of 2020” is to prevent trans women and nonbinary people from competing in women’s athletics by withholding federal funding from schools if they "permit a person whose biological sex at birth is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.” Yikes. Unsurprisingly the bill is co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin.
“Title IX was a historic provision championed by Hawaii’s own Congresswoman Patsy Mink in order to provide equal opportunity for women and girls in high school and college sports," Gabbard said in a statement. "However, Title IX is being weakened by some states who are misinterpreting Title IX, creating uncertainty, undue hardship and lost opportunities for female athletes. Our legislation protects Title IX’s original intent which was based on the general biological distinction between men and women athletes based on sex."
The bill continues an age-old transphobic discussion about the ways in which “biology” is the primary determinant of how we relate to gender. It also comes despite the Supreme Court’s summer ruling that incorporated gender identity discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. As SI pointed out, the NCAA currently allows trans women to participate in women’s sports.
Title IX currently reads that, “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Tulsi, a failed presidential candidate, is now receiving criticism over the bill. Check out some of the backlash below.