What to Know in Washington: GOP Pushing Transgender Sports Ban

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House Republicans are poised to weigh in on transgender student athletes today, engaging in a cultural hot-button issue that has fired up their base. But they are also avoiding some of the thornier issues around LGBTQ rights that risks alienating moderate and independent voters.

Transgender rights have been an increasing Republican target across the country as the party looks for a wedge issue to excite social conservatives before the 2024 election. This year alone, 10 Republican-led state legislatures have banned gender affirming care or surgery for minors. And Bud Light faced a recent backlash after partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Congressional Republicans plan to vote on legislation (H.R. 734) that would ban schools that receive federal funding from allowing transgender students assigned male at birth from playing on female sports teams in public elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities. The bill wouldn’t prohibit transgender students from practicing or training with a program designated for women or girls.

(Photo by Mike Comer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Lia Thomas, transgender collegiate athlete, swims to victory in the 500 yard freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship in Atlanta.

The bill has virtually no chance of becoming law, with the Senate Democrats unlikely to bring it up and President Joe Biden promising to veto it.

But Republicans believe they can make inroads with moderate and women voters who could be swayed by a message questioning the fairness of allowing transgender individuals to compete in women’s sports.

“Everybody has a right to be whoever the hell they want to be,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), but added that as a former baseball and softball coach “there’s a reason we have separate boys and girls sports.” Emily Wilkins polls more lawmakers ahead of the vote.


  • President Joe Biden at 8:30 a.m. convenes the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate virtually from the White House.
  • At 2:30 p.m., Biden meets with President Gustavo Petro of Colombia.
  • White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gives a briefing at 1 p.m.


  • The House is in at 9 a.m. to consider the transgender athlete bill.
  • Senators return at 10 a.m. to vote on reauthorizing firefighter grants.

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To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com; Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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