House Republicans Are Trying to Keep Trans Women Out of School Sports

The Schuylkill Valley Panthers play the Boiling Springs Bubblers in the District 3 Class 2A championship at Hersheypark Stadium in 2017. (Reading Eagle Photo via Getty Images/Jeremy Drey)

By Patrick Berkery

March 29, 2022

The GOP-majority House Education Committee advanced a bill that would prohibit trans women from playing school sports in Pennsylvania.

House Republicans are moving a bill that would ban LGBTQ+ students in Pennsylvania from playing school sports as the gender they identify with.

House Bill 972, dubbed the “Protect Women’s Sports Act,” would restrict transgender girls and women from playing scholastic and collegiate sports on women’s teams. The bill passed the state House Education Committee along party lines Tuesday and now advances to the House for a full vote.

The bill’s advancement comes on the heels of lawmakers in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Utah passing similar legislation last week, bringing the total number of states with laws banning young transgender athletes playing on girls teams to 12. Legislation that would ban trans girls and women from competing in school sports is still pending in a number of other states.

Such bills are part of a larger culture war in the US targeting transgender people, though some Republican governors are pushing back at laws that they see as specifically targeting vulnerable transgender kids. The passage of Utah’s law required a veto override after Gov. Spencer Cox refused to sign off on the bill. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb also recently vetoed a similar bill.

With Gov. Tom Wolf in office, HB 972 would meet a similar fate in Pennsylvania, a fact the co-chair of the state LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus was quick to point out.

“It’s unconscionable that Republicans in the House Education Committee even brought this bill up for a vote, considering this harmful and discriminatory legislation is a direct attack on transgender and gender-nonconforming youth across the state,” state Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) said in a written statement. “Even Republican governors are now vetoing these bills because they are cruel and unnecessary. While our Democratic governor surely will do the same, that doesn’t change the fact that transgender youth in our commonwealth are being unfairly targeted. We stand with all LGBTQ+ residents, and we will always do what we can to protect them.”

RELATED: Why Can’t Republicans Get on Board With Common-Sense Education Initiatives?

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