Senator Kelly Loeffler, a Republican out of Georgia, has introduced the latest anti-trans bill into Congress, the so called “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act.” This new bill would ban schools from receiving Title IX funding if they allow trans girls to participate in girl’s sports. It also seeks to define sex based on birth genitals and genetics.
The bill specifically states that it will be illegal for “a recipient of Federal funds who operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs or activities to permit a person whose sex is male to particpate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.” It continues on to say that “sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
Loeffler tweeted that she was “proud to lead this effort in defense of women & girls.” She added that “Title IX established a fair chance for girls of all ages to compete—Sports should be no exception,” which is wildly ironic as her bill proposes limiting which girls have a chance to compete.
By defining sex this way, even a trans girl who has been on hormones and undergone surgery would be unable to play girl’s sports. To enforce the bill, lawmakers would have to find a way to examine what a potential student-athlete’s genitals looked like at birth. Genetic sex testing isn’t usually done at birth, so it remains to be seen how that part of the law would be enforced.
Other similar anti-trans bills and laws have relied on invasive and non consensual “genital exams” on underage girls in order for them to play sports. Not only would trans girls have to undergo these exams, but also any cis girl who’s gender was challenged by another student or parent. One such law, which allowed for “internal and external verification” of students’ genitals and reproductive systems, was passed in Idaho, but was temporarily blocked by a federal judge in August.
As you can see, this bill, as well as most others like it, only targets trans women, completely ignoring trans men and other trans people. It’s not actually about “protecting” anyone, the bill specifically aims to punish trans girls for being trans. It also highlights some of the logical and scientific problems with how conservatives like to define sex and gender.
Loeffler’s bill is co-sponsored by Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), James Lankford (Oklahoma), Mike Lee (Utah), and Tom Cotton (Arkansas). It is unclear how much support the bill has from other conservatives.