The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act (HR 734), a bill that would prohibit transgender women and girls from competing on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity.
Members voted 219-203 along party lines for passage of the bill, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Gregory Steube (R-Fla.) and is the first standalone piece of legislation restricting the rights of trans Americans that has ever been considered by the lower chamber.
The bill would bar student athletes “whose sex is male” from participating in women’s and girls’ athletic programs or activities, provided that “sex” is “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” In anticipation of Thursday’s move by House Republicans, the White House issued a statement Monday vowing to veto the proposal, should it ever reach the president’s desk — an unlikely outcome, considering Democrats’ majority control of the U.S.
Senate. “As gun violence plagues our schools, anti-equality politicians decided the most pressing priority for the House was to ban trans girls of all ages from playing on school sports teams with their friends,” Congressional Equality Caucus Chair Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said in a statement published by the caucus on Thursday. “Trans girls deserve the same opportunity as all other girls — to be part of a team, learn sportsmanship and challenge themselves,” Pocan said, adding, “I condemn today’s vote to rob trans girls of these opportunities” and “my colleagues who voted for this bill should be ashamed.” U.S.