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U.S. House passes transgender sports ban, but bill expected to fail in Senate

U.S. Capitol (BP file photo)

WASHINGTON (BP) – The U.S. House of Representatives limited female sports to biological women in a party-line vote April 21, but the U.S. Senate is expected to block the bill.

Southern Baptist advocates for women’s rights applauded the House bill as the issue plays out in state legislatures and in U.S. courts.

Katie McCoy, women’s ministry director at the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Center for Church Health, cited many benefits of transgender sports bans.

“On the surface, this legislation is a step towards fairness. The biological differences between males and females are comprehensive. Males have greater lung capacity, larger skeletal systems and more fast-twitch muscle fibers, all of which contribute to greater athletic performance,” McCoy told Baptist Press. “Even Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender biological male, recognizes the inherent inequality of allowing males in women’s sports.

“But even more, this bill acknowledges female agency. When young women are compelled to undress in front of a biologically intact male, who himself exposes his genitalia without their consent and with no recourse, schools and universities effectively institutionalize the sexual exploitation of women and girls, disenfranchise women’s and girls’ voices, and deny the harm such forced exposure can cause.”

Dan Darling, director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said Scripture and science support the exclusion of so-called “transwomen” from women’s sports.

“Science clearly shows what Scripture has made clear: that God has a beautiful design and distinction for men and women,” Darling told Baptist Press. “Allowing biological males to compete against females is unfair on every level and reverses many of the gains we’ve seen when it comes to women’s sports and Title IX. Even if this legislation doesn’t pass the Senate or make it to President Biden’s desk, it’s an important statement from the people’s house.”

Biden has indicated he would veto such a bill if it makes it to his desk. But Darling said Southern Baptists should still be grateful for the House initiative.

“Southern Baptists should be vigilant in communicating the truth about the goodness of maleness and femaleness both to the culture and to our public officials,” Darling said. “We can do this with both clarity and compassion, praying for the Spirit of God to change hearts and minds.”

McCoy encourages Southern Baptists to stay abreast of the truth regarding transgender bans.

“Sift through the partisan hyperbole that claims anything other than unqualified assent is automatically hateful and harmful. This kind of rhetoric is merely a poor substitute for logic and reasoned debate,” McCoy said. “Every person, including every transgender person, is created in God’s image and is worthy of dignity and respect. But male access to female sports is not about affording dignity and respect; it’s about expecting members of society to suspend their beliefs, and in some cases their own dignity, to conform to one’s self-perception.”

Currently, 21 states have passed transgender sports bans, limiting women’s sports competition to biological women, but the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to uphold an appeals court ruling blocking a ban in West Virginia.

Despite West Virginia’s blocked ban, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming have passed similar bans, according to the Movement Advancement Project. MAP markets itself as “an independent, nonprofit think tank that provides rigorous research, insight, and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all.”