On April 20, 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 734, the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act (PWGSA).
The PWGSA would make it unlawful for any federally-funded school or college to allow biological males to participate in team sports that are designated for women or girls. For purposes of this legislation, a person’s sex would be determined based on “reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” However, the PWGSA would not bar males from practicing or training with women’s or girls’ sports teams so long as male participation did not deprive females of any sports opportunities or benefits. The legislation, which is supported by multiple Christian organizations, would also provide for a study of the adverse effects upon women and girls that would result from male participation in women’s or girls’ sports.
The PWGSA passed the House by a party-line vote of 219-203. All present Republicans voted for the bill, and all present Democrats voted against it. Each member of New York’s congressional delegation took part in the vote except Rep. Dan Goldman (D-Manhattan.) The bill has no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate in the near term, and President Joe Biden—whose administration recently proposed a pro-“transgender” federal regulation relating to opposite-sex sports participation—has announced that he would veto the legislation if it reached his desk. Nevertheless, the House passage of the bill strikes an important blow in the struggle for gender sanity. In passing the bill, House Republican leadership followed through on a promise made last year in its Commitment to America.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL-17), the lead sponsor of the PWGSA, commented, “‘For thousands of years in human history, we have recognized as a species that there are women and there are men who are obviously biologically different. Yet over the last several years there has been a perversion in our culture by the enemy and the left has completely embraced the lie.’” Furthermore, Rep. Steube asserted that “‘the Left is not only encouraging transgender individuals to invade women’s sports, but they celebrate as women are knocked off podiums and shunned to the sidelines. Nothing fair about that.’” New York’s own Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-Canandaigua) added, “‘Across the country, the Biden administration is allowing, even encouraging, biological men to participate in women’s sports. This is fundamentally unfair and diminishes equal opportunities for women in athletics, which we fought for decades to achieve.’”
In speaking about the PWGSA, many Democrats have made misleading claims. President Biden accused congressional Republicans of “discriminating against children.” Other Democrats have described the bill as a form of bullying, as an effort to score political points by “‘scapegoating’” “transgender” children, and as a “‘creepy’” measure that could lead school administrators to inspect students’ genitalia. “‘All of these ridiculous things we’ve been accused of are not in this bill,’ said Rep. Virginia Foxx, R.-N.C., the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. ‘This bill does not discriminate against anyone. It does not exhibit any hate toward anyone. What it does is prohibit federal funding to any institutions that … “permit a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that’s designated for women or girls.”’” Rep. Foxx is correct. The PWGSA would not prevent anyone from playing team sports. It would merely require boys and men to play on teams with other males.
Opponents of the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act have a problem: Their position is incoherent. It is unlikely that any member of Congress would support a bill to make all sports programs at schools and colleges unisex. Such a proposal would be unfair to women and girls. Regardless of whether they identify as “transgender,” post-pubescent males are larger, stronger, and faster than females. Because of this biological reality, obliterating all sex distinctions in team sports would be an extraordinarily controversial move. By opposing the PWGSA, however, House Democrats are conceding that it is acceptable for male athletes to compete against female athletes in team sports in some circumstances. Lawmakers who take this position should be asked how they reconcile this inconsistency and how they justify this unfairness.