With a few short weeks left in her final term in the United States House of Representatives, Hawaii congresswoman and former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is back to showing her true colors when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. On December 10, 2020, Gabbard and her fellow congressman from Oklahoma, Markwayne Mullin, introduced H.R. 8932, otherwise known as the Protect Women’s Sports Act.
The purpose of this bill, according to the congresswoman, would “protect(s) Title IX’s original intent which was based on the general biological distinction between men and women athletes based on sex. 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.”
Title IX is defined by the Department of Education as:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
What makes Gabbard’s bill troublesome is that its intent is to exclude trans athletes from participating in sports programs in publicly funded schools.
On her Twitter page, Gabbard tweeted:
My ‘Protect Women’s Sports Act’ is based on science. It safeguards equality & ensures a level playing field for girls & women competing in sports. It upholds Title IX’s original intent which was based on the general biological distinction between men & women athletes based on sex
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) December 11, 2020
There were those that praised the congresswoman for taking this on.
A large segment of Twitter pushed back, dragging Gabbard for embracing transphobic views.
Tulsi Gabbard's attack on transgender athletes is nothing more than punching down on people she thinks can't defend themselves. It's weak. Trans rights are human rights, and that includes the right to simple bodily autonomy. That bill needs to die.
— Green Socialist Organizing Project (@SocialistGreens) December 12, 2020
Why did Tulsi Gabbard run as a Democrat when she's clearly anti-trans? For those who need to hear this, trans-women are women.
Tulsi Gabbard introduces bill that would ban trans women and girls from female sports https://t.co/G0e2u3Tx0R
— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) December 12, 2020
Others expressed their outrage at pushing this bill in the midst of a pandemic.
Gabbard has a history of opposing LGBTQ rights. In the late ‘90s, Gabbard worked for a group called The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, which was run by her father, former Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard. The senior Gabbard was a well-known vocal opponent of gay rights and served as director of the anti-gay group, Stop Promoting Homosexuality which endorsed conversion therapy.
While working at the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, Gabbard’s mother was running for Hawaii State Board of Education and was the target of gay rights protestors over her opposition of marriage equality and Gabbard was quoted in a press release in defense of her mother:
“This war of deception and hatred against my mom is being waged by homosexual activists because they know, that if elected, she will not allow them to force their values down the throats of the children in our schools.”
After announcing her candidacy for the Democratic Presidential race in 2019, Gabbard took to YouTube to apologize for past statements against the LGBTQ community.
On August 8, 2020 journalist Michael Tracey posted what many considered a transphobic tweet and Gabbard responded with her own in poor taste tweet.
Tweets calling out Gabbard came quickly.
Concerning the Protect Women’s Act, deputy director for Trans Justice with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project Chase Strangio said to Time Magazine:
“It’s shameful that one of Rep. Gabbard’s last acts in Congress is to attack trans youth. While this bill will not advance, it has already sent a dangerous message to trans youth and is spreading the same lies that are fueling attacks on trans youth in state legislatures.”
What are your thoughts on Gabbard and her bill? Let us know in the comments or on social media accounts.
Sources: Congress.gov, Tulsi Gabbard Official Congressional Web Page, United States Department of Education, Tulsi Gabbard Official Twitter Page, CNN, Honolulu Advertiser, The Wayback Machine, Tulsi Gabbard Official YouTube Channel, Time Magazine