Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris co-sponsored a bill that would force public schools to allow biologically male athletes who identify as transgender on girls’ sports teams.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced Harris as his running mate on Tuesday. In March 2019, Harris cosponsored the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make “sexual orientation and gender identity” protected characteristics under federal anti-discrimination law.
Among other things, the bill would force public schools to expand female athletic teams to include biological males who identify as transgender girls, as both supporters and opponents of the bill have acknowledged.
Biden has pledged to get the Equality Act signed into law within his first 100 days in office, making the Democratic ticket united on the issue of forcing schools to allow some biologically male athletes into female athletics.
The Equality Act passed the House with unanimous Democratic support in May 2019, but never came up for a floor vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Democrats have a strong chance of retaking the Senate in November, according to poll watchers. Furthermore, prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, have embraced the possibility of eliminating the filibuster in the Senate, which would lower the threshold needed to pass most legislation from 60 votes to 50 votes.
President Donald Trump’s Department of Education sided with high school girls suing the state of Connecticut over its transgender policy and his Department of Justice threw its support behind an Idaho law restricting girls’ sports to biological females.
Biologically male athletes who identify as transgender have racked up accomplishments in female athletics.
Franklin Pierce University runner CeCe Telfer, for example, won an NCAA DII women’s track championship in May 2019. Telfer is a biological male who identifies as transgender and previously competed on FPU’s women’s team.
University of Montana runner June Eastwood, a biologically male athlete who identifies as a transgender woman, was named the Big Sky Conference’s female athlete of the week in October 2019. Like Telfer, Eastwood competed on the men’s team at the university before switching to the women’s team.
Less than a third of Americans believe biological males who identify as transgender should be allowed to compete on girls’ sports teams, a November 2019 poll showed.
Another poll released a month prior, in October 2019, found that Americans said by a 57-20 margin that male athletes who self-identify as transgender have competitive advantages over female athletes.