Hageman Says Trans Women In The Olympics Would Be ‘Despicable’

Saying transgender women competing in the Women’s Olympics would be “despicable,” Harriet Hageman is sponsoring legislation that would prohibit trans females from representing the U.S. in the Olympic Games.

Leo Wolfson

February 06, 20244 min read

Wyoming Republican U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman.
Wyoming Republican U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman believes the issue of transgender athletes participating in certain sports is larger than youth- or even college-level of competition.

That’s why she’s co-sponsoring legislation that would prohibit transgender women from representing the United States in future women’s Olympic competitions.

“Allowing biological males to compete against females in women’s sports is despicable and should be an issue on which both Democrats and Republicans can agree,” she told Cowboy State Daily on Monday.

What It Does

Hageman is co-sponsoring the Protection of Women in Olympic and Amateur Sports Act with other Republican House members, such as Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Doug LaMalfa of California and Greg Steube of Florida. It also has a companion bill in the Senate that U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming, said she would support.

“Women athletes dedicate so much of their lives and engage in tremendous personal sacrifices to earn the opportunity to represent the United States in the Olympic games,” Lummis said. “Intentionally sidelining women by forcing them to compete against biological males at any level is unfair, unsafe and flat-out wrong.”

If passed, the bill would prohibit any American governing body recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee from allowing biological men to participate in any female athletic event.

What makes the bill different from other state-level measures addressing similar transgender sports issues is that it could apply to professional athletes who aspire to compete in the Olympics, which is technically an amateur event. Nearly all of the transgender athletic legislation passed so far around the nation has pertained to college or lower levels of athletic competition.

According to Fox News, the bill "prohibits a person whose sex is male from participating in an amateur athletic competition that is designated for females, women or girls."

The bill also defines a male as "an individual who has, had, will have — or would have, but for a developmental or genetic anomaly or historical accident — the reproductive system that at some point produces, transports and utilizes sperm for fertilization."

LGBTQ advocates have argued that transgender women take hormones that bring them to a level playing field with women, and that their gender identity should be respected.

The Landscape

According to ESPN, since 2020, 23 states have passed laws restricting transgender athletes' participating in public school sports of their opposite birth gender.

Wyoming became one of these states in 2023, passing legislation prohibiting transgender girls in grades 6-12 from participating in girls sports in the Cowboy State. Although there was significant chatter after it passed that it would result in a lawsuit, there so far have been none.

Last year, Hageman also voted in support of U.S. House-passed legislation prohibiting transgender athletes whose biological sex at birth was male from competing on girls’ or women’s sports teams at federally supported schools and colleges. This bill stalled when it reached the U.S. Senate.

It is because men tend to be physically bigger and stronger than women that Hageman said she has sponsored these bills.

“Science has proven that men have multiple physical advantages over women and to argue otherwise is not only absurd, but dangerous,” Hageman said.

There have been no bills in Congress addressing transgender men competing in male sports, but the state of Texas passed legislation outlawing this as well.

USA Boxing is the latest sports organization to make changes for transgender competitors, allowing trans boxers to compete in the divisions of their choice as of Jan. 1.

Former college swimmer Lia Thomas is one of the most well-known transgender athletes for becoming the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA college title.

Activist and former college swimmer Riley Gaines has spoken out against Thomas, and last October offered support for members of a University of Wyoming sorority suing their parent chapter for admitting a transgender member.

Thomas is suing to compete again in World Aquatics to earn a bid to the Olympics. World Aquatics introduced new rules in 2022 prohibiting anyone who has undergone “any part of male puberty” from female competition.

A similar rule was made by the World Athletics Council in 2023 for track and field athletes.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at leo@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter