The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Bill 972 on Tuesday after University of Pennsylvania swimmer, Lia Thomas, became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Divison 1 title. The bill will ban transgender athletes in Pennsylvania from competing in women’s sports teams as the gender they identify with.

According to the bill, “sex is the biological distinction between male and female based on reproductive biology and genetic make-up.”

Rep. Barbara Gleim (R-Pennsylvania), one of the bill’s sponsors, said the legislation is meant to “protect opportunities for women and girls in athletics by ensuring women are not forced to compete against biological males playing on women’s sports teams.”

However, Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia ), a co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Caucus, disapproves of the bill. Sims said the bill “is an inflammatory move meant to spark a culture war, not a meaningful policy solution for an issue impacting working Pennsylvanians.” Sims also added “to trans kids everywhere, I see you, you are loved, you belong and deserve to participate as your authentic self.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D-Pennsylvania) said he stands in solidarity with the LBTQ+ community. Wolf said he will veto the bill and tweeted “it won’t get past my desk.” Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) is running for a U.S. Senate seat on a pro-LGBTQ platform.

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