Update, 4/20/23: The House passed the bill on Thursday in a vote of 219 to 203. The legislation faces extremely long odds in the Senate, but President Joe Biden said he’d veto the bill if it came to his desk.
Original story below:
The House of Representatives started debate on a bill Wednesday to address the number-one threat to kids, the 400 million gu—oh, sorry, the existence of trans people. Yes, in the days following horrific stories of people shooting kids who mistakenly stepped onto their property or opened the wrong car door, and weeks after a mass shooting at Tennessee elementary school, Republicans sought it fit to take action on...banning transgender girls from playing sports at K-12 schools and public universities nationwide if those schools receive federal funds.
The discussion about HR 734—the incorrectly named “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023"—was a mixture of vile misgendering and deadnaming from Republicans and righteous indignation from Democrats. If you took a shot every time a conservative said “biological males,” you would’ve ended up in the ER.
Rep. John Rose (R-Tenn.), who represents parts of Nashville—home to the recent mass school shooting—said he was proud to be taking action on a danger facing women students at the University of Tennessee: “hav[ing] to compete against biological males. Whether it’s for scholarships or national championships, biological males ought to compete against biological males.” (Ope, take three drinks!)
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), who led a previous committee hearing on the bill, had the gall to claim that the proposal “doesn’t discriminate against anyone” and that her party was being unfairly smeared. “Republicans—contrary to what our colleagues have said and accused us of—Republicans love all God’s children, male and female, born and unborn. Do not question our commitment to fairness, to life, or to treating people equally. We hate no one.” Sure thing, that’s why you want to rip federal funding from schools that allow trans kids to play sports.
Democrats were, appropriately, ripshit pissed during the debate and suggested the many better uses of Congress’ time, including taking action on guns, like maybe an assault weapons ban and universal background checks. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said, “If it’s about keeping kids safe, well, if it was that, we’d be doing something about keeping guns out of school—crickets on that.”
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said, “If you really care about the wellbeing of kids, let me remind you, the leading cause of death [for children and teens] in this country is gun violence. Yet our Republican colleagues will not do anything to protect children from being slaughtered in their schools...Shame on you. This is a disgrace.”
Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) noted how House Republicans cannot claim they are outing out of care about women. “They’ve introduced a national abortion ban, they opposed paid family leave, they blocked the ERA, they fought against universal childcare. And now they’re using the false guise of protecting women to blatantly discriminate against the trans community and threaten the privacy of all women and girls...This is about discrimination and scoring political points.”
Here’s Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) making a similar point about the gross political angle: “This isn’t about a problem that needs a solution, but about politicians looking for a target. We want freedom and liberty for all of our people, and they want the government to be in children’s pants. Disgusting.”
Two more Democrats mentioned the prospect of enforcement via genital exams.
“This bill is so vaguely written that it would subject every single girl to undergo a medical evaluation to prove their femaleness...Are we in Iran? Is this what we want to subject our girls to? This bill is insulting and dehumanizing and is tantamount to rape.,” Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.) said. “To its core this bill is issue-deflecting, cloaked in misogyny and it is a true disgrace—not to mention sexist, because I don’t think you would do this to a man and ask them to prove their maleness. This is sick.”
Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) said: “Your government has become so intrusive in our lives—you’re in our doctor’s offices banning reproductive freedom, you’re in our classrooms banning books and what teachers can and can’t say, and now you’re in my daughter’s locker room requiring physical exams of children? It is so profoundly disgusting and inappropriate.”
The only (kind of?) good news here is that this bill has no chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate. But I am currently dialing 911.