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Washington, DC—Yesterday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Vice Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus issued the following statement ahead of today’s passage of House Republicans’ so-called “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act.” Congressman Nadler urged his colleagues to oppose this bigoted legislation, which unfairly targets and perpetuates a false narrative of trans and intersex student athletes.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 734, the so-called “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act.” I say so-called because there is really nothing in this bill to protect women and girls in sports. It’s telling that every amendment submitted by a Democrat to actually strengthen protections – such as addressing the lack of resources and opportunities to play sports –was ruled out as not germane by Republicans.  There are many real issues facing our nation’s women’s and girls’ sports teams, including disproportionate funding and resources compared to their male counterparts – but transgender athletes are not one of them.

A more appropriate name for this bill would have been the Federalizing Bigotry Against Young Trans Student-Athletes Act. House Republicans now have the distinction of bringing the first bill to the House floor that is solely directed at discriminating against transgender people. This bill discriminates by perpetuating a false narrative that transgender athletes harm and threaten women’s sports. In reality, there are only a handful of transgender athletes in high school or college who have had any notable success.

Transgender young people experience increased incidences of bullying, rejection, and discrimination, and nearly half of trans women and girls report seriously considering suicide in the past year.  Why would we consider this hateful legislation that further isolates an already vulnerable group of children?

All kids–including transgender and intersex kids–should have the same opportunities to participate in school sports.  Transgender youth, just like all youth, simply want the freedom to be themselves. They deserve to live their lives free from this kind of discrimination.

Some of my colleagues have claimed that this bill is about “the downfall of Title IX.” However, ensuring that all girls, including trans girls, can participate in school activities fully embodies the letter and spirit of Title IX.  States, school districts, and athletic associations around the country have allowed transgender and intersex young people to participate in school sports consistent with their gender identity for decades without issue.

Mr. Speaker, this isn’t really about girls’ and women’s sports—it’s about undermining the rights of transgender people. It’s a radical proposal, and it’s no surprise that even Republican Governors have vetoed similar proposals at the state level.

I am proud to have been the first Member of Congress to speak out in support of transgender rights on the House floor. Today, I am proud to urge my colleagues to oppose this hateful bill aimed at depriving transgender women and girls live to freely without fear and intimidation.”



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