House Republicans Take Their Attack On Trans Rights National

As the Republican Party has launched a major offensive against transgender Americans as part of a broader culture war over the past few months, most of the action has taken place in statehouses across the country. But with the GOP now in charge of the House of Representatives, the battle has moved to Washington, DC

On Wednesday, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing on two bills that perfectly encapsulate the Republican Party’s supercharged focus on targeting transgender youth.

HR 734, the Act on the Protection of Women and Girls in Sporta bill that seeks to ban trans girls from participating in sports, and HR 5, the law on parental rightslegislation that encourages parents to have more influence over what educators teach and strips LGBTQ youth of the right to speak with school staff without parental notification.

Hundreds of anti-trans bills have already been introduced at the state level, with many becoming law. However, these bills, introduced at the federal level, signal a new phase in which the conservative movement wants to make attacks on transgender people a nationwide project. There is not a Senate or a President who will approve these abuses – for now. But that could change in less than two years.

While Democrats came to the hearing prepared with research, statistics and anecdotal evidence from LGBTQ people, the GOP offered talking points that could have been lifted from your average right-wing Facebook group commenter.

Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) repeatedly suggested that the Biden administration was seeking to “erase women,” apparently starting by allowing trans girls to play sports on teams that match their gender identity. Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) claimed he was glad the hearing was public so Americans could see that Democrats “didn’t believe God created the science of sex.”

Meanwhile, Democrats pointedly noted that these bills were part of the GOP’s ongoing cultural war against anyone who is not white, straight, conservative and cisgender.

“This is just a false sense of moral panic being fomented by a political party that seeks to use trans children as pawns to gain power,” said Rep. Mark Takano (D-Ca.).

These GOP bills are responding not to issues of national concern, but to outrages of their own making.

Last year, the Biden administration proposed amendments to Title IX, legislation banning gender-based discrimination in schools and universities that would extend protections to LGBTQ students. However, the White House did not address whether this explicitly meant that this change would include allowing trans athletes to participate in sports with teams that match their gender identity. The Women and Girls in Sports Protection Act is a direct response to that proposal — though no changes have been made to Title IX.

The bill, on one page, states that “sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” However, it does not explain how schools should determine a student’s reproductive biology.

The proposal, while vague, seeks to exclude transgender athletes from school sports. In short, it is discrimination. Not only does it fly in the face of the purpose of team sports, but it also arms the federal government against a small portion of the population already at higher risk of psychological problemsincluding depression and suicidal thoughts.

There is only about 50 openly transgender athletes participation in sports at the university level. Acknowledging this figure, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) “To suggest that such a handful of athletes…justifies national congressional action is ridiculous.”

But the GOP says the bill is needed to protect women and girls in sports, even though the bill does nothing to address the real problems in women’s sports — wage differences, harassmentand discrimination.

The second bill discussed at the hearing is another idea popular in conservative circles.

Gaining popularity in places like Florida and Virginia, parental rights has become a collection of policies that seek to inject conservative dogma into public schools, remove books that Republican politicians don’t like, and ultimately undermine the public school system to push charter schools and private schools – to line their pockets.

The Parents Bill of Rights Act is more comprehensive than the anti-trans bill. Democrats were concerned about provisions that called for disseminating lists of library books to all parents.

While Republicans framed it as transparency, conservative parents across the country has led the charge for book bans by claiming that books on LGBTQ issues are “inappropriate” or “pornographic”. They have successfully gotten school districts to remove books, and a federal bill like this would only empower more parents.

Another concerning provision in the bill would require school officials to disclose any private conversations they had with students. Again, the GOP claims this is a crucial part of parental rights, but it completely ignores why a transgender student might be out at school but need privacy from their parents, like in the case of abuse.

This pair of bills is unlikely to become law. But with the GOP now in control of the House, the party has made it clear that bills like these, which target LGBTQ people and appeal to their most ardent supporters, are at the top of their agenda. Despite the myriad issues facing the American people, the GOP makes it clear: Attacking transgender people is their top priority.


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