Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a fervent opponent of LGBT+ rights (Getty/TOM WILLIAMS)
A Republican senator has claimed that transgender children play sports as part of a “deliberate, sadistic effort” to “harm girls.”
The claim comes from Mike Lee of Utah, a fervent opponent of LGBT+ rights who appears to be attempting to cast himself as a defender of women after a solid nine years in the Senate opposing their right to access reproductive healthcare or marry someone of the same sex.
Lee is among a group of Republican lawmakers behind the so-called Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, a bill that would revoke federal funding from schools that allow transgender girls to participate “in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls”.
The Orwellian bill defines sex as “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth”, though it does not elaborate on how this will be determined – with similar state-level laws requiring genital exams in cases where an athlete’s sex is disputed.
Republican senator Mike Lee launches shocking attack on trans children
Speaking to the Deseret News, Lee claimed that “biological males might as a pretext use certain words in order to qualify themselves in girls and women’s athletics”, despite zero recorded cases of someone transitioning with the express intent of getting ahead in a professional sport, let alone at the high school level.
Without any evidence at all to back up his claims, he soldiered on: “Some of them might do it to win a prize or a trophy or scholarship.
“Others might do it just to prove that they can or for bragging rights. Others still might do it in a deliberate, sadistic effort to harm girls and women.”
Again, none of this has ever happened, apart from inside the head of a senator with an extensive history of cheering on anti-LGBT+ discrimination.
‘Defender of women’ is not so keen about them getting married or getting healthcare
Lee was previously behind an attempt to effectively erase civil rights protections for married gay and lesbian couples.
The GOP senator spearheaded efforts to pass the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill that would have blocked the federal government from enforcing anti-discrimination protections or civil rights laws in cases where people acted based on “a sincerely held religious belief” in marriage.
He has also intervened in court battles over LGBT+ discrimination laws in the past, arguing that religious business owners have a right to discriminate on the well-trodden grounds of ‘religious freedom’ and ‘free speech’.
The newly-converted champion of women’s rights also has an extensive history of anti-abortion legislation, supporting moves to pull federal funding from women’s healthcare providers that offer reproductive healthcare.
The lawmaker has also sought to restrict minors’ access to abortion and ban the procedure after 20 weeks, suggesting women should be forced to remain pregnant aside from “in cases of rape, or cases of incest against a minor”.