U.S. Rep. Angie Craig called one of her Democratic colleagues “transphobic” for introducing a bill that would prevent biological males from competing in women’s sports.
The “Protect Women’s Sports Act” was introduced Thursday by U.S. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat, and Markwayne Mullin, a Republican. The bill would clarify that Title IX protections for female athletes are based on biological sex, according to a press release from Gabbard’s office.
Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities that receive federal funding, the Department of Education notes.
“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. It led to a generational shift that impacted countless women, creating life-changing opportunities for girls and women that never existed before. However, Title IX is being weakened by some states who are misinterpreting Title IX, creating uncertainty, undue hardship and lost opportunities for female athletes,” Gabbard said in a statement.
“Our legislation protects Title IX’s original intent which was based on the general biological distinction between men and women athletes based on sex. It is critical that the legacy of Title IX continues to ensure women and girls in sports have the opportunity to compete and excel on a level playing field,” she added.
Craig called the bill “transphobic,” “hateful,” “beyond the pale,” and “narrow-minded” in a statement released Friday.
“As a lesbian woman, I am no stranger to prejudice and intolerance — but this legislation is beyond the pale. Plain and simple, the Protect Women’s Sports Act is transphobic — and this type of discrimination has no place in the halls of Congress,” said Craig, who defeated Republican Tyler Kistner for a second term representing Minnesota’s Second Congressional District.
“Especially at a time when the transgender community is suffering from a tragic rise in suicide rates and experiencing a surge of transphobic violence, such a bigoted and appalling effort is simply unacceptable,” she continued. “Queer and transgender women must stand together in the face of intolerance — and I am proud to do so today by emphatically denouncing this narrow-minded and hateful legislation, which is harmful not only to transgender women but to the LGBTQ community at-large.”
Gabbard said on Twitter Friday night that her bill “simply protects the rights and interests of girls and women who participate in sports so they can compete on a level playing field.”
“Denying biological differences between men and women undermines the reason why Title IX was created in the first place,” she said, arguing that her bill is “based on science.”
“Title IX was created out of a recognition of a biological distinction between men and women, and the need to make sure women and girls have equal opportunities to compete on a level playing field in sports,” said Gabbard. “My bill upholds the original intent of Title IX, and strengthens it. That’s all.”