Axios Finds Republicans Introduced 61 Bills In 2021 Aimed At Protecting Women, Children From Unpopular Gender Policies

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Republicans have introduced 61 bills in 2021 that are aimed at protecting women and children from unpopular gender policies, a review conducted by Axios found.

GOP lawmakers have introduced more bills aimed at protecting women and children in 2021 than they did in all of 2020, Axios found. The 61 pieces of legislation come from at least 25 states and criminalize gender transition surgeries for children or prevent biological males from participating in women’s sports.

Polling conducted by  The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, found that a majority of Americans oppose allowing students to compete on sports teams (58%) or use showers or locker rooms (53%) that do not align with their biological sex. The survey also found that 57% of Americans oppose allowing minors with gender dysphoria to receive gender transition surgery, puberty blockers, or cross-sex hormones.

A 2019 Morning Consult survey found that majorities of self-identified Republicans, Democrats and independents said biological male athletes who identify as transgender women “have a competitive advantage” over female athletes. Fifty-seven percent of American adults said that the biologically male athletes have an advantage, according to the poll, and just 20% disagreed.

Another 2019 Rasmussen survey found that a majority of Americans, 51%, oppose allowing biological male athletes who identify as transgender on girls’ sports teams. Fifty-seven percent of black Americans said they oppose male athletes in girls’ sports. The poll found that only 29% of Americans favored allowing male athletes onto girls’ athletic teams, and 20% said they weren’t sure.

Axios reporter Orian Rummler suggested the 2021 bills are a result of backlash against progressive policies from President Joe Biden’s administration.

“LGBTQ advocates are saying that some of the pushback that is fueling these bills are some of the actions Biden has taken,” Rummler said, including “reversing President Trump’s military ban for transgender people, pausing the HHS rule that would allow for discrimination of LGBTQ people, and the Biden administration also left a lawsuit that the Trump administration actually joined against transgender athletes that was brought forth by three high school students in Connecticut.”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, lawmakers introduced 41 bills focused on protecting women and children from unpopular gender policies — double the amount of bills that were introduced in 2018 and 2019 on the issue, despite the pandemic.

Dan Cox, director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Survey Center on American Life, told Axios that this is a winning issue for Republicans in states where they are fighting hardest.

“On the Democratic side, this is not an issue that really excites the base,” Cox told Axios. “But on the right, I think these issues are really, really salient, so it tends to fire up folks disproportionately on the right than the left.”

“A lot of this stuff is being framed as dangerous for children,” Cox said. “That harkens back to the gay rights movement. And that’s a pretty effective way to get people who are sort of more moderate and middle of the road off and active on this issue. It’s not random that these are the issues that are being brought up.”

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