House Democrats easily defeated an amendment this week that would have prevented biological females from being forced to compete against biological males in sporting events.
The amendment to the Equality Act by Republican Rep. Greg Steube of Florida was voted down Wednesday in the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee, 22-10. Steube says he will bring the amendment back up on the floor.
Opponents and even supporters of the Equality Act warn the bill could forever harm female sports on the high school and collegiate level.
This week, three current or former female athletes – Doriane Coleman, Martina Navratilova and Sanya Richards-Ross – penned an editorial in The Washington Post asserting the bill “would make it unlawful to differentiate among girls and women in sports on the basis of sex for any purpose.” Navratilova’s stance is particularly noteworthy. She is a lesbian and has drawn loud criticism from the LGBT community for her stance.
Steube said his amendment would strengthen women’s sports.
“I’m offering this amendment today to ensure that our daughters are provided an equal playing field in sports for generations to come, and that female athletes are not competing against male athletes for athletic scholarships and Title IX funding,” Steube said. “... I want to guarantee that biological women are not forced to compete against biological men at all levels of athletic competition.”
Science, he said, “has proven time and time again that there is a significant performance difference between biological males and females from puberty onward.”
Steube referenced a biological male weightlifterwho broke four female world records in a female competition. The weightlifter won all nine events in which he lifted.
“From percentage of lean muscle, to heart size, body fat, and joint angles, the bodies of men and women are distinctly unique and produce a vast and tangible athletic performance differences. In fact, there is an average 10-12 percent performance gap between elite biological male and female athletes,” Steube said.
Coleman, Navratilova and Richards-Ross agreed, saying the “reality is that putting male- and female-bodied athletes together is co-ed or open sport.”
“And in open sport, females lose,” they wrote.
“Some Equality Act advocates argue that this is hyperbole and outdated stereotype,” the three women wrote. “They say, as the ACLU has, that there is ‘ample evidence that girls can compete and win against boys.’ They are wrong. The evidence is unequivocal that starting in puberty, in every sport except sailing, shooting and riding, there will always be significant numbers of boys and men who would beat the best girls and women in head-to-head competition. Claims to the contrary are simply a denial of science.”
The women noted that Team USA female sprinter Allyson Felix – who has won multiple world championships – has a lifetime best of 49.26 seconds in the 400 meters. But in 2018, 275 high school boys ran faster on 783 occasions.
“The sex differential isn’t the result of boys and men having a male gender identity, more resources, better training or superior discipline. It’s because they have androgenized bodies,” they wrote.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Jonathan Chng/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.