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‘Protect Women’s Sports Act’ Moves to Full PA House

A move to exclude transgender girls from participating in girls’ scholastic athletics passed through the Pennsylvania House Education Committee today by a 15-9 vote.

The bill – HB 972 – also known as the “Protect Women’s Sports Act – was first introduced by state Rep. Barbara Gleim (R-Cumberland) last spring. Gleim was joined on the bill by Reps. Martina White (R-Philadelphia), Dawn Keefer (R-York), Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny) and Stephanie Borowicz (R-Clinton/Centre).

HB 972 would restrict participants to male or female teams based on their reproductive organs, biology, or genetics at birth. It now goes forward for consideration by the full PA house, controlled by the GOP majority.

“We maintain that women’s own competitive category in athletics, guaranteed under federal Title IX law, needs to be preserved because women lose out on having a fair playing field when forced to compete against biological men,” said Gleim in a press release

“The reality is that identities don’t play sports, bodies do. And the male body has strength, speed and endurance abilities that women’s bodies simply do not. Just look at Lia Thomas, a biological male who competed on the (University of Pennsylvania) men’s swim team for three years before switching to the women’s team and smashing women’s records. This bill is needed to ensure everyone, biological men and women, can compete fairly.”

Rep. Mark Longietti (D-Mercer), the committee’s ranking Democrat, posited whether the decision should be left to governing bodies such as the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) or the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Rep. MaryLouise Isaacson (D-Philadelphia) agreed with Longietti, noting “There are governing bodies over high school and collegiate sports. We are not one of them.”

Currently, the NCAA policy calls for transgender participation for each sport to be determined by the policy for the national governing body of that sport, subject to ongoing review and recommendation by the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports to the Board of Governors. If there is no NGB policy for a sport, that sport’s international federation policy would be followed. If there is no international federation policy, previously established IOC policy criteria would be followed.

Under the Pennsylvania bill, an athletic team or sport designated for females, women or girls may not be open to students of the male sex. In addition, a student deprived of an athletic opportunity or who suffers direct or indirect harm as a result of a violation of this act by a college or public school would be able to bring a cause of action for injunctive relief, psychological and physical damage, and the costs involved in filing a lawsuit against the college or high school.

“In yet another attempt to inflict harm on one of PA’s most vulnerable communities, House Republicans are moving a bill to ban transgender women from playing women’s school sports in Pennsylvania,” said state Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Caucus, in a statement. “This is a solution in search of a problem, and with the number of trans women and girls who play sports actually being extremely small, we must recognize this for what it is — an inflammatory move meant to spark a culture war, not a meaningful policy solution for an issue impacting working Pennsylvanians. 

“Let’s be clear, this legislation is about preserving fairness and protecting women,” said Gaydos. “The PIAA currently has separate divisions based on age, school sizes and classification.”

“On Jan. 23, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that says transgendered athletes must be allowed to compete against women – a protected category. This executive order reverses decades of progress for women’s sports. House Bill 972 restores the intent of federal Title IX established in 1972 for girls to compete on a level playing field in athletics.”

“This bill is an ignorant attempt to fix a problem that doesn’t exist,” said state Sen. Katie Muth (D-Berks), co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Caucus. “If the majority’s intent is to give women a level playing field, we should address the inequities in funding, resources, media coverage and pay in women’s sports.”

9 Responses

  1. It’s disappointing that we are wasting the states resources on a problem that doesn’t really exist. Consider the message you are sending to the future children that unless you meet a certain beauty standard, have abilities that we arbitrarily consider too good; we may question your sexuality and subject you to embarrassing testing. In addition, you’re making it harder on an already marginalized community that are already barely welcome in most school districts. Sports are a Human Right; Trans kids are human too! Shame on you all to push this for political gain. Remember that this can only apply to k-12, as older ages/sports follow other rule sets. Meaning that this will mostly only effect kids who did not go through male puberty – e.g. – no advantage…but I’m sure an attempt at that block will come next to help force your argument which doesn’t happen with all kids in the first place. Consider what made these kids trans in the first place. Could it have been partially based on some medical conditions that occurred in the first place? What percentage of athletes in any population make it to the elite level? Do your research, real people will be hurt by this transphobic law… So much more to this that what is presented in this piece of garbage!

    1. Who does this fake poster know at PoliticsPA that they let him/her/transgendered? get away with fraudulently pretending to be somebody else?

      1. Who does this fake poster know at PoliticsPA that they let him post dribble and nonsense under a hidden alias rather than a real name.

        Everyone knows I support Trump

    2. PoliticsPA has evaded this issue far too long. Grow a pair, transgendered or not, and clean up your media outlet.

  2. State Government’s Republican Party has sunk to an all time low using the current transgender sports matter as a political football. Talk about sleazy politics. Did these politicians ever consider the parents? No, let’s use a wedge issue to gain political points for our sleazy agenda. This is called loser’s politics. Would Tom Ridge or Bill Scranton be involved in this nonsense? No. I’m stating the obvious saying PIAA or NCAA or any sports governing body should make appropriate rulings not politicians.

    1. That used to be the case until President Biden issued an executive order mandating that biological boys play on Women’s teams if they want. Why is noone asking President Biden the same question?

    2. Women’s sports is being infiltrated, scholarships taken away from women, by young men (retaining muscle, bone structure, and the “unit”). Actual Feminists should unite with Republicans.

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