U.S. lawmakers passes bill to ban transgender athletes from female sports

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Republicans in the House of Representatives voted Thursday to prevent transgender women and girls from participating in female-only athletic competitions.

The ‘Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act’ is the first major attempt at addressing the issue on a nationwide scale, having previously only been an issue in various states and specific athletic bodies.

The bill has failed to pass in the previous three Congresses and is projected to fail again when it reaches the Democratic-controlled Senate. If the law reaches his desk, President Joe Biden has threatened to veto it.

The measure seeks to amend Title IX, the federal civil rights statute that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education, to define sex as “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”

FINA, the world governing body of swimming, prohibited transgender women from competing in female swimming events last year. World Rugby followed suit in 2020, and only last month, the World Athletics Council announced that transgender athletes who converted from male to female after puberty will be forbidden from competing beginning April 1, 2023.

Caster Semenya of South Africa, the world’s fastest woman in the 800m, is a well-known instance in athletics. She is officially female and was reared as such, yet she has ‘XY’ chromosomes and a naturally high testosterone level.

Ms Semenya was barred from participation in female sports after refusing to accept testosterone-lowering therapy in 2018. She lost her case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and is now appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.

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