House Republicans vote to pass anti-trans sports ban

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Homophobia and Transphobia

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 734, a bill which would implement a nationwide ban on transgender and nonbinary students from participating in their school athletics that match their gender identity. As reported by Politico, the April 20 vote was split between 219 Republican lawmakers voting for the anti-trans sports ban, and 203 Democrat lawmakers voting against. Additionally, all of the bill’s 93 cosponsors were Republican lawmakers.

The passage of the bill received widespread condemnation from LGBTQ organizations and Democrats, both of whom pointed out that this measure has no chance of becoming law and is a discriminatory attack against transgender youth.

“Rather than focus their energy on doing literally anything to improve the lives of children, House Republicans have prioritized attacking transgender youth purely as a political ploy,” said Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “They know this bill will not become law because President Biden has already signaled his intention to veto it, so this is purely a waste of time at the expense of an already marginalized population.”

This legislation comes in the aftermath of the Department of Education announcing a Title IX rule change which would prohibit blanket anti-trans sports bans from taking place. While the Department’s proposed rule change would have Title IX include trans and non-binary students protected from discrimination, H.R. 734 would do the opposite. The bill would amend Title IX by defining a person’s gender solely based on the one they were assigned with at birth — excluding trans and nonbinary students from discrimination protections.

Anti-trans sports bans sweep the nation

While this federal bill has virtually no chance of becoming law currently, there are many states that have already passed anti-trans sports bans. The Movement Advancement Projects documents which states have passed these bans. The number is currently at 21 states although some of these bans are being challenged in state and federal court.

As in the case of Congress, these bills are being sponsored and passed by Republican-controlled legislatures.

“Why are Republicans in Congress spending their time bullying children,” asked Deirdre Schifeling, national political director for the American Civil Liberties Union. “This is not what voters elected them to do. Instead of governing responsibly, solving the debt limit, and passing legislation that the American people actually want and need, this House majority is legislating discrimination and hate towards school children.”