The Wisconsin house passed a bill Wednesday along partisan lines to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in their legal genders. The Republican bill passed by a margin of 59 to 38 with all Democrats opposed. The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration.
The sponsor of AB195 Rep. Barbara Dittrich denied that the bill was discriminatory inferring that she was the actual target of hateful rhetoric.
Rep. Janel Brandtjen, a Menomonee Falls Republican, said she and other supporters of the measure were trying to protect girls’ and women’s athletics.
“This isn’t a hate bill. This is a science bill. Women’s sports will come to an end,” she said. “Women deserve to have an equal playing field, and that’s what this bill is about.”
Wisconsin high schools have not raised concerns about transgender athletes participating in girls’ sports, according to the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.
“We have not one single — not one single instance — where we have heard from a member school, from a parent or a student that they had an opportunity taken, they have lost an opportunity or even a contest much less a championship due to having to compete against a transgender student,” WIAA Executive Director Dave Anderson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in May.
AB 195 as amended defines sex as determined by a physician at birth and reflected on the birth certificate. It also requires a UW institution or technical college “to prohibit a male student from participating on an athletic team or in a sport designated for females or women.”
The Bill does not single out trans masculine students as it does trans women and girls.
The legislation is part of a nationwide effort in more than 30 states across the country this year to curb the rights of trans people, particularly trans youth.
Republicans and other supporters of the bills, however, say it would help maintain women’s equality in sports carved out by 1972’s Title IX, which gives women athletes the right to equal opportunity in sports in educational institutions that receive federal funds.
If not for their carveout excluding transgender students. the Wisconsin Republicans would be in agreement with the Department of Education.
On Wednesday, June 16, the U.S. Department of Education issued a position statement confirming that Title IX Protects Students from Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
The Notice of Interpretation explained that it will enforce Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include: (1) discrimination based on sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination based on gender identity. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity offered by a recipient of federal financial assistance.
Almost a year ago to the day the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that gay and transgender people are included by virtual of their sexual orientation and gender expression in the workplace by the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
[US Sec of Education Miguel Cardona June 7 interview on ESPN left some in the community wondering when the administration would act. Those clarifications came just 11 days later.]
“We just want to double down on our expectations,” Miguel A. Cardona, the education secretary, said in an interview with the New York Times. “Students cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.”
“The reality is each case has to be investigated individually,” Mr. Cardona said. Schools, he added, should “not wait for complaints to come to address these issues.”
He likened the announcement to setting down a marker for schools nationwide, alerting them that the Biden Education Department would not tolerate discrimination in schools receiving federal funds.