U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler filed a bill that would make it a violation of federal law for transgender girls to compete in women’s sports in schools.
Loeffler (photo) is an Atlanta Dream co-owner and a Republican appointed to the Senate in January by Gov. Brian Kemp. She filed the “Protection of Women & Girls In Sports Act” on Sept. 22. Under the bill, allowing trans girls to participate in women’s sports would be a Title IX violation and put schools in danger of losing federal funding.
The press release announcing the bill referred to trans girls and women as “biological males.”
“Title IX established a fair and equal chance for women and girls to compete, and sports should be no exception,” Loeffler said in the press release. “As someone who learned invaluable life lessons and built confidence playing sports throughout my life, I’m proud to lead this legislation to ensure girls of all ages can enjoy those same opportunities.”
“This commonsense bill protects women and girls by safeguarding fairness and leveling the athletic field that Title IX guarantees,” she added.
Loeffler’s bill prompted swift backlash from some elected officials and Rev. Raphael Warnock, the leading Democrat in a congested special election for Loeffler’s Senate seat.
“I’m a pro-LGBTQ+ pastor who understands that no one is free until we are all free,” Warnock said in a tweet. “Sen. Loeffler is demonizing the transgender community to score political points. It’s time to replace our unelected senator.”
I’m a pro-LGBTQ+ pastor who understands that no one is free until we are all free.
Sen. @Kloeffler is demonizing the transgender community to score political points.
It’s time to replace our unelected Senator. https://t.co/jgZ1xQ9WpS
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) September 24, 2020
Doraville City Councilmember Stephe Koontz, a Warnock supporter, also slammed the bill. She is the only openly trans elected official in Georgia.
“There is just no win for transgender youth,” she told Project Q Atlanta. “These politicians want to deny them hormone blockers, which would eliminate any testosterone strength advantage, then deny them the right to play sports as the gender they identify with because of that strength advantage.”
“All I see here are people who want to legislate trans folks out of existence,” Koontz added.
State Rep. Matthew Wilson, a Democrat from Brookhaven, agreed. He called Loeffler’s bill “morally reprehensible” and “most vile.” He is one of five openly LGBTQ members of the state legislature.
“The science on this issue is clear: transgender girls have shown no competitive advantage in women’s sports,” he tweeted on Sept. 24. “But this science is also clear: America’s trans youth are suffering a mental health crisis right now.”
— Matthew Wilson (@mwilsonGA) September 24, 2020
“But you won’t see any mental-health or school-training legislation by Sen. Loeffler,” Wilson added. “She’d rather use our transgender kids as a political prop for her re-election campaign. She clearly doesn’t care if it results in more youth suicide this year. So much for being ‘pro-life.'”
Co-sponsors of Loeffler’s bill include Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. The Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group, also backs the bill.
Similar legislation was filed in the Georgia House of Representatives earlier this year. State Rep. Phillip Singleton, a Republican from Sharpsburg, filed a bill that would ban trans athletes from sports in public high schools and ban trans youth of any age from sports in public athletic facilities. The bill gained no traction.
Loeffler also voiced support for anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” legislation weeks before taking her U.S. Senate seat.
A grant from the Google News Initiative’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund made this story is made possible.