Tulsi Gabbard joins GOP attack on trans kids on her way out of Congress

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is joining Republican efforts to deny transgender people their full rights.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced a bill on Thursday that says compliance with a federal civil rights law must define sex as "biological sex as determined at birth by a physician."

Gabbard, who announced in 2019 that she would not be seeking another term in office, has just a few weeks left in Congress.

The bill she's backing on her way out the door, called the Protect Women's Sports Act, is meant to exclude transgender girls from participating in sports in accordance with their gender.

Title IX is the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) is cosponsoring the bill. The full text of the bill had not yet been posted online on Friday.

Gabbard is following in the footsteps of GOP lawmakers on the state and federal level who have introduced similar bills.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who has given thousands of dollars to an anti-LGBTQ adoption agency, introduced a bill this year called the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2020. The bill says it is a violation of Title IX for schools receiving federal funds to "permit someone whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designed for girls" and defined sex as "a person's reproductive biology and sex at birth."

Republicans have also introduced bills on the state level to keep transgender girls from playing on girls' sports teams. Idaho's bill, the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, sponsored by Republican legislators, was signed into law by the Republican governor of Idaho, Brad Little, in March. In August, a federal judge ruled against the law. Although dozens of states saw lawmakers introduce bills like the one in Idaho, including Tennessee and Arizona, which were also introduced by Republicans, Idaho was the only state to successfully enact a bill targeting transgender girls in sports.

Details about Gabbard's anti-LGBTQ history grabbed headlines last year during her presidential run. In 2002, when Gabbard ran for the Hawaii House of Representatives, she bragged about working with her father, Mike Gabbard, who has a strongly anti-LGBTQ record, "to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage," CNN reported last year.

In 2004, she opposed civil unions and said, "As Democrats, we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists."

In an interview in 2015, where she is asked about her positions on LGBTQ rights, OZY reporters write Gabbard told them that "no, her personal views haven’t changed" but that she didn't want to "force her own beliefs on others."

In January of 2019, soon after Gabbard announced her presidential run, Gabbard acknowledged her past statements and actions and said, "In my past, I said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, they were very hurtful to people in the LGBTQ community and their loved ones" and said that she apologized for her positions years ago.

"I sincerely repeat my apology today," she said.

LGBTQ lawmakers and advocates have tweeted in response to the news.

State senator-elect for Delaware, Sarah McBride, a Democrat who has been elected the first transgender state senator, tweeted about Gabbard, "Tulsi Gabbard: assigned Republican at birth."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.