The Democratically ruled House of Representatives voted Friday, May 17, 2019, 236-173 in favor of the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make “sexual orientation and gender identity” protected under federal anti-discrimination law.
The bill would require public schools to include male athletes, who identify as transgender girls, on female sports teams.
The Director of the left-wing Human Rights Campaign, Sarah Warbelow, praised the bill’s influence on high school sports in a written testimony presented to a House subcommittee.
“Opponents of equality in athletics for transgender athletes have argued that girls who are transgender have unfair physiological advantages over cisgender girls and as a result, will dominate women’s competitive sports.” Warbelow also added that it’s not “rooted in fact” that biologically male athletes will exceed their female counterparts.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, pointed out the same argument saying “Many states have sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination laws, and all of them still have women’s sports. Arguments about transgender athletes participating in sports in accordance with their gender identity having competitive advantages have not been borne out.”
However, the legislation gained divided opinions from people, especially from female athletes. In an April 29 Washington Post op-ed, three former elite female athletes, Martina Navratilova, Sanya Richards-Ross and Doriane Coleman warned that the Equality Act would cause devastation to women’s sports.
“The legislation would make it unlawful to differentiate among girls and women in sports on the basis of sex for any purpose. For example, a sports team couldn’t treat a transgender woman differently from a woman who is not transgender on the grounds that the former is male-bodied. Yet the reality is that putting male- and female-bodied athletes together is co-ed or open sport. And in open sport, females lose,” the former athletes wrote.