Congressional Republicans introduce bill to ban trans women from the Olympics

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House and Senate Republicans have introduced a new bill to ban transgender women from the U.S. Olympic team.

Rep. Gregory Steube (R-FL) and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) introduced the Protection of Women in Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, a bill that would ban trans women from participating in any team recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

“It is deeply disturbing to see USA Boxing change its policy to allow men to box against women,” Tuberville said in a press release. USA Boxing did not, in fact, allow men to box against women; it allowed trans women to compete as women and put very strict rules in place that will exclude many trans women.

As Tuberville continued, he made it clear that his issue had nothing to do with boxing anyway. “Men should not be competing in women’s sports at any level—and especially not in a sport like boxing. Whether in little league or the Olympics, it’s unsafe, it’s unfair, and it’s just plain wrong. This bill will ensure that the Olympics are fair to American women who train their whole lives to represent our country on the world stage.”

The bill would affect amateur sports outside of the Olympics as well. USA Boxing, for example, is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and would have to fully ban trans people if it wanted to remain certified by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Last year, Steube introduced a transgender sports ban in the House that was passed along party lines. It has gone nowhere in the Democratic Senate.

The bill comes shortly after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a new requirement that trans women athletes complete their transition before the age of 12. It’s unclear what they are defining as a “complete” transition; if they require that surgery happen before the age of 12, they have effectively banned all trans women since gender-affirming bottom surgery is not performed on minors.

The Olympics’ previous policy, issued in 2022, was to use the policies put in place by the governing bodies of individual sports. Prior to that, the IOC’s guidelines required all women who competed – even cis women like South African runner Caster Semenya – to maintain a low level of testosterone for a year prior to competing, even if this required the use of medication to reduce an athlete’s testosterone levels.

It’s unlikely that Steube’s and Tuberville’s new bill will pass the Democratic Senate if it even comes up for a vote in the House, but the introduction of the bill shows that Republicans want to make trans people’s right to participate in sports an issue in the 2024 elections.

House Republicans even introduced another school sports ban last December even though they had already passed one earlier in the year, a signal to voters that they will likely pass a federal trans sports ban in 2025 if they get control of the Senate and the White House.

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