Sen. Mike Lee counters Biden transgender athlete executive order with new legislation

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced a bill that would prohibit federally-funded colleges and universities from allowing biological men who identify as women on women's sports teams.

The bill stands in direct opposition to President Joe Biden's executive order.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced a bill in January that would require federally-funded institutions to allow only biological women to compete in women’s sports. 

The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act would specify that, under Title IX, a person’s sex is determined “solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”

This bill counters President Joe Biden’s executive order on the matter, which asserts that legal prohibitions on sex discrimination also apply to discrimination based on gender identity. Though the text of the bill does not mention transgender athletes, it would effectively ban colleges and universities from allowing transgender women - people born as biological males but who now identify as female - to compete in women’s sports. 

Transgender athletes would still be permitted to participate, but they would be required to compete on the team that matches the sex they were assigned at birth. 

[RELATED: Exclusive Video: Students concerned about Biden’s transgender athlete order]

Lee said, “this bill would protect the opportunity of girls throughout America to athletically compete against other girls.” 

Lee is joined by nine co-sponsors, all Republicans, in backing this bill. 

The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing female athletes who say that their rights under Title IX have been violated. Alanna Smith, a high school track runner from Connecticut, lamented, “As a freshman, I was pushed from runner-up to third place by a male athlete at the State Championship and New England Regional meets. My fellow female athletes and I have repeatedly missed out on track medals and state titles. We all know that letting boys push us out of our own sport isn’t fair.”

[RELATED: Battle of the sexes? Arizona lawmakers duke it out over transgender athlete bill]

Mary Kate Marshall, a college track athlete from Idaho, shared similar concerns. 

She said, “I love running because it makes me a better version of myself; but I push hard and sacrifice a lot of time and energy because I also like to win. When another woman beats me in a race, I assume that she must train harder than I do, and it motivates me to lean in, work harder, improve my form, and shave off the extra seconds. But when I lose to a man, it’s completely demoralizing—there’s no hope of making up the competitive edge.”

This bill sets more stringent requirements than the NCAA’s current policy, which allows transgender women to compete on women’s teams so long as they have been receiving hormone treatment for a period of one year. The NCAA’s policy does not dictate how much feminizing hormone a person must take, nor does it set a limit on the level of testosterone allowed in the body of an athlete who competes as a woman. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito