On Tuesday, April 12, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill prohibiting transgender women from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity.
House Bill 972, also known as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, claims that public school entities, state-sponsored institutions, and some private institutions sponsoring sports teams must expressly designate male, female, or coed (mixed) categories. “Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women or girls (…) may not be open to students of the male sex,” says the recently passed act.
“Sex” is defined as “the biological differentiation between male and female based on reproductive biology and genetic make-up.” It now goes to the state Senate, controlled by Republicans, for further consideration.
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Not everyone agrees
Pennsylvania Governor, Democrat Tom Wolf, strongly opposes the legislation and warned that such an ordinance “won’t get past his desk.”
As states across the country push transphobic legislation, some Republicans in the General Assembly are wasting time attempting the same in Pennsylvania.
It won't get past my desk.
Let's enhance protections for LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians instead. Send me the bipartisan Fairness Act. pic.twitter.com/Srj8JBsJwn
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) April 12, 2022
Similarly, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania blasted the transgender women ban. They claim that supporters of the legislation seek a public policy of exclusion.
BREAKING: The #PAHouse has passed a bill to ban trans girls and women from playing scholastic sports based on their gender identity.
Trans youth belong everywhere, including in school sports. 1/6
— ACLU of Pennsylvania (@aclupa) April 12, 2022
Other organizations have expressed their disagreement with the bill.
Sex and gender aren’t the same
The definition of “biological sex” proposed on the bill has been lambasted by critics for being simplistic. While sex is a wide term that encompasses physiology, a person’s gender is an inborn sense of self that involves anatomy, genetics, and hormones.
According to pundits, each of these categories has a lot of natural variations.
Inspired by the Lia Thomas case
The University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas became the first transgender athlete to earn an NCAA Division I title.
Thomas took the first place in the women’s 500-yard freestyle race last month.
Lia Thomas, a former member of Penn’s men’s swim team, has been the core of the discussion on transgender women’s participation in athletics. NCAA stated that it is closely monitoring such prohibitions to ensure that championships take place “in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.”
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