This federal anti-trans sports ban is just the beginning of the anti-LGBTQ+, specifically anti-trans, legislation expected to be introduced in Congress. Such bills are discriminatory and must be stopped. Tell your Representatives to oppose the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023 (H.R. 734).
In recent years, state legislators have introduced record high numbers of state bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community – especially trans and non-binary youth – including bills banning transgender athletes from participating on sports teams that align with their gender identity. Two-thirds of Americans across the political spectrum – including 69 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Independents, and 66 percent of Republicans – oppose these anti-trans sports bans.
On February 1, 2023, Representative Gregory Steube (FL-17) introduced the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023 (H.R. 734). Despite its name, the bill provides no protections for trans women and girls, rather it prohibits them (including transgender girls as young as kindergarten) from participating in sports teams. The bill passed out of committee on March 9 and is expected to reach a vote soon.
This bill perpetuates a false narrative that transgender athletes harm and threaten women’s sports. There is no evidence that transgender athletes have a systemic advantage over cisgender athletes; rather, every athlete is unique, and multiple factors contribute to athletic success. There are many real issues facing women’s sports teams, including disproportionate funding and resources compared to their male counterparts, but transgender athletes are not one of them. It is for these reasons that many leading women’s and girls’ rights organizations also oppose H.R. 734. Transgender women are women and deserve to participate on and learn the values of sports teams that align with their gender identity.
Furthermore, anti-transgender policies such as this sports ban actively harm LGBTQ+ youth and detract from real issues facing LGBTQ+ youth. In one study, 26 percent of transgender girls reported choosing not to play sports because they feared being forced to play on a team that does not align with their gender identity. The Trevor Project found that 83 percent of trans and nonbinary youth have worried about being denied the ability to play sports due to anti-trans legislation. Not only do these policies impact trans students’ ability to play sports, they also greatly harm their mental well-being. In the same survey, the Trevor Project found that 45 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide and one in five trans and nonbinary youth attempted suicide in the past year. However, they also found that “LGBTQ youth who found their school to be LGBTQ-affirming reported lower rates of attempting suicide.” Now is the time to make schools and communities more inclusive and affirming, not hateful and harmful. Even the consideration of H.R. 734 will instill fear and negatively impact the mental and physical wellbeing of trans youth across the country.
We cannot stand idly by while they take rights away from members of our communities. Tell your Representative to vote NO on a federal anti-trans sports ban and stand up for LGBTQ+ youth across the country.
Judaism teaches that all human beings are created b'tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image (Genesis 1:27). The belief that the stamp of the divine is present in all humans is fundamental to Reform Judaism and teaches us that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any person because of their identity. Judaism also specifically teaches about gender identity. In fact, our Jewish legal texts mention at least six different genders across the gender spectrum. In 2015, the Union for Reform Judaism and Central Conference of American Rabbis passed historic resolutions affirming the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people – the farthest-reaching transgender rights resolutions of any major religious denomination. As Reform Jews, we know that deep faith and LGBTQ+ equality are not mutually exclusive but rather essential parts of Reform Judaism.
For more information
For more information on this issue, visit the RAC’s LGBTQ+ rights issue page or contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Rachel Klein.