Peter Hasson on June 12, 2019
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s new plan on LGBT issues includes forcing schools to include male athletes who identify as transgender girls on female sports teams.
O’Rourke’s plan for “LGBTQ+ Equality,” which he released Wednesday, includes passing the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make “sexual orientation and gender identity” protected characteristics under federal anti-discrimination law.
Among other things, the bill would force public schools to expand female athletic teams to include biological males who identify as transgender girls.
The House passed the Equality Act in May with unanimous Democratic support, but it’s unlikely to get a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“Beto will work with Congress to ensure that every person in our country is safe and respected,” O’Rourke’s plan states, pledging to get the Equality Act passed.
I just released a new plan that would ensure LGBTQ+ Americans can live openly without fear of discrimination or violence and would immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s discriminatory policies.
Read it here:https://t.co/JIdqBGZpME
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 12, 2019
O’Rourke’s website states that the bill “would ensure all LGBTQ+ people may fully participate in public life without discrimination in employment, housing, and access to public spaces and services, such as retail stores and banking services,” but makes no mention of its impact on girls’ and women’s sports.
An O’Rourke campaign spokesman declined to comment on the Equality Act’s requirement that male athletes who identify as transgender girls compete on female sports teams.
Three former elite female athletes, Doriane Coleman, Martina Navratilova and Sanya Richards-Ross, warned in an April 29 Washington Post op-ed that the Equality Act would wreak havoc on women’s sports.
“The legislation would make it unlawful to differentiate among girls and women in sports on the basis of sex for any purpose. For example, a sports team couldn’t treat a transgender woman differently from a woman who is not transgender on the grounds that the former is male-bodied,” the former athletes wrote.
“Yet the reality is that putting male- and female-bodied athletes together is co-ed or open sport. And in open sport, females lose,” the three women warned.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, insisted the bill wouldn’t put female athletes at a disadvantage.
“Many states have sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination laws, and all of them still have women’s sports. Arguments about transgender athletes participating in sports in accordance with their gender identity having competitive advantages have not been borne out,” Nadler said at an April 2 committee hearing.
One of the states Nadler was referring to is Connecticut, where two male runners have dominated girls’ high school track. One of their female competitors called the male runners’ advantage “demoralizing.”