Updated: Dec 18, 2020
Trans-rights activists and the media are calling Representative Tulsi Gabbard a TERF (transgender exclusionary radical feminist), a transphobe, and a number of other pejoratives we’re too polite to copy here.
Why? Because of HR 8932, a bill Gabbard introduced to the House of Representatives.
This simple bit of legislation “[provides] that for purposes of determining compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in athletics, sex shall be determined on the basis of biological sex as determined at birth by a physician.”
Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, making it illegal to discriminate against a person on the basis of sex in any federally funded activity. Because of Title IX, girls’ and women’s sports were funded, and girls and women were provided locker rooms and facilities comparable to those provided for boys and men. Before Title IX, very few competitive sport opportunities and/or adequate sports facilities existed for girls and women.
“Our legislation protects Title IX’s original intent which was based on the general biological distinction between men and women athletes based on sex,” says Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “It is critical that the legacy of Title IX continues to ensure women and girls in sports have the opportunity to compete and excel on a level playing field.”
If Title IX has provided for women’s sports since 1972, why is HR 8932 necessary?
Because transgender activists are demanding that men and boys be allowed to participate in women’s and girls’ sports. These misguided activists insist that men’s and boys’ feelings are more valid and valuable than biological facts.
But rather than applaud Gabbard’s bill to protect girls and women Gabbard is instead vilified by many media outlets:
Elly Bell writes in Refinery29 that HR 8932 “has a deeply transphobic twist.”
Time reports that transgender advocates decry Representative Gabbard’s bill as “inherently transphobic.”
In a Twitter post media darling and transwoman (man) Charlotte Clymer stated that "Tulsi Gabbard is now introducing a blatantly transphobic piece of legislation aimed at trans and non-binary young people.
And a USA Today headline about the bill puts “biological sex” in quotes, as though biology is a euphemism rather than a reality.
If we accept trans activists’ delusion that feelings override biology, then there is no basis to prevent a college student—or even a professional athlete—who “feels” like a fifteen-year-old from competing in high school sports. Neither could a grown man who self-identifies as a young girl be prevented from participating in girls’ sports at the middle school level.
But HR 8932 does more than just protect girls’ and women’s sports.
It protects girls and women themselves.
As the culture around transgender policy stands, without HR 8932, girls and women must share locker rooms and overnight accommodations with boys and men. With respect to middle and high school sports, parents are not even told if their daughters must share showers or hotel rooms with biological males.
Girls and women have lost the right to protest the presence of penises in spaces where girls and women are most vulnerable.
Representative Gabbard’s bill is not just about protecting women from competing against men and girls from competing against boys, it is about upholding Title IX, which was enacted both to level the competitive playing field and to provide sex-based facilities for girls and women.
To insist that girls and women must surrender their legal rights in order to protect men’s and boys’ feelings is antithetical to the spirit and the letter of Title IX.
And we will fight alongside Representative Gabbard to make sure it never happens.
Erin Brewer is a partner at Partners for Ethical Care. Contact Dr. Brewer via firstname.lastname@example.org.