Lame duck Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) continues to be applauded for a bill that would bar males from competing in female sports.
"I think it's great that Tulsi is standing with female athletes and standing up for fairness," says Emilie Kao, director of the Center for Religion & Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, a center-right think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. "It's unfortunate what has happened in the states. It's taken away opportunities for girls and women to be able to compete in a level playing field with their own sex."
The bill from Gabbard and Rep.Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma) is called the Protect Women's Sports Act (H.R. 8932). (See earlier related article)
According to polling done by The Heritage Foundation, people want fairness for girls. "Girls are facing lost opportunities every day in athletics now because of these transgender sports policies that are not based on the realities of the differences between male and female bodies," the organization states.
People in support of transgender athletes being allowed in the sporting field of their choice say it's inclusive. In their minds, the athletes identify a certain way and want to compete against athletes of that gender. Still, Kao says it is unfair for biological females to compete against biological males.
"When a male goes through puberty, there are changes to the male body that are irreversible even if you have surgery, even if you start taking estrogen," Kao explains. "Men have larger bone structure, their heart rate is different, the size of their lung capacity and their heart capacity is different, and all of these things affect performance and that's why we started to have Title IX to have separate male and female teams."
Prior to Title IX, females wanting to play sports had to try out for male teams, if they even had the opportunity.
"So, Title IX was introduced to create fairness for women and girls," says Kao. "Recently, the transgender movement has set this country back and taken away those opportunities."
Kao adds that these issues and others will be the norm if federal legislation known as the Equality Act is ever approved by the legislative and executive branches.
"Title IX was a historic provision championed by Hawaii's own Congresswoman Patsy Mink in order to provide equal opportunity for women and girls in high school and college sports,” Gabbard said in a statement. “It led to a generational shift that impacted countless women, creating life-changing opportunities for girls and women that never existed before. However, Title IX is being weakened by some states who are misinterpreting Title IX, creating uncertainty, undue hardship and lost opportunities for female athletes.”
"Title IX was designed to give women and girls an equal chance to succeed, including in sports,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin. “Allowing biological males to compete in women's sports diminishes that equality and takes away from the original intent of Title IX.”