Steube, Tuberville file bill to ban transgender women from US Olympic teams
THE HILL — House and Senate Republicans this month mounted a third effort to ban transgender women and girls from female sports teams, this time by attempting to bar trans women from competing on U.S. Olympic teams ahead of this year’s Summer Games in Paris.
Under a bill filed Feb 1. by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), governing bodies recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) would be prohibited from allowing transgender women to participate in women’s athletic events.
It also would modify eligibility requirements for amateur sports governing organizations to bar transgender women from “participating in an amateur athletic competition that is designated for females, women, or girls,” according to a copy of the legislation obtained by The Hill.
The bill would not impose similar restrictions on transgender men wishing to participate in men’s Olympic or amateur sporting events.
The measure’s introduction marks the first time Congress has attempted to ban transgender women and girls from competitions involving professional athletes; the House in April passed a bill to prevent transgender student-athletes from competing on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity. That legislation was also sponsored by Steube.
A second bill to ban transgender women and girls from competing on school sports teams was introduced late last year by Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.).
Steube in a Feb. 1 statement said he and Tuberville introduced the latest bill, titled the Protection of Women in Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, in response to a recent policy update by USA Boxing that altered eligibility requirements for transgender athletes.
Boxing’s highest national governing body, which is overseen by the USOC, in January published new guidelines for transgender men and women requiring genital reassignment surgery and stringent hormone testing.
Under the new requirements, trans athletes younger than 18 “must compete as their birth gender” in weight classes outlined in the governing body’s rulebook. Transgender adults must undergo surgery and submit quarterly hormone tests for at least four years to be eligible to compete in accordance with their gender identity.
USA Boxing’s transgender policy is among the most strict for trans athletes and runs counter to guidelines set in 2021 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that abandoned hormone testing requirements. The IOC stopped requiring surgery in 2016.
Still, USA Boxing’s transgender policy has drawn criticism from opponents, including Steube and Tuberville, who say transgender women should not be allowed to compete in women’s boxing events at all. Steube in a post on X, formerly Twitter, called the policy update “insane” and said USA Boxing was a “delusional organization.”
“Due to the illogical USA Boxing transgender policy, I introduced legislation to prevent organizations who choose to live in delusion from being recognized by the U.S. Olympic committee,” Steube said in the Feb. 1 statement.
The bill’s introduction also comes as Lia Thomas, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer who in 2022 became the first transgender woman to win a national Division I title, prepares a legal challenge to a sweeping World Aquatics policy that effectively bans trans women from competing in elite international swimming competitions, including the Olympics.
LGBTQ rights advocates have pushed back on a recent wave of state legislation targeting transgender athletes, arguing the bills discriminate against transgender people and violate federal anti-discrimination law.
Laws preventing transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity have been adopted by 24 states since 2020, according to the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit group that tracks LGBTQ legislation. At least four of them are blocked by court orders.