A Democratic presidential candidate with a famous name has defied his party’s policy to public oppose allowing men to compete in women’s sports, putting him at odds with the majority of elected Democrat officials.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. whose namesake father was assassinated while campaigning for the presidency in 1968, declared on a CNN interview program that: “I am against people participating in women’s sports … who are biologically male. I think women have worked too hard to … develop women’s sports over the past 30 years. I watched it happen, and I don’t think this is fair.”
His comments came just after every Democrat in the US House of Representatives voted against a bill that would have banned male athletes from competing on women’s sports teams. While the measure passed the Republican-controlled House on a party-line vote, it’s unlikely to pass in the Senate, where the Democrats control the chamber.
Most Democrats characterise the bill as discriminatory and harmful to transgender athletes.
Supporters underline the biological differences between men and women that give male athletes an advantage over women athletes.
USA Powerlifting notes men have “increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue,” all factors that give them an advantage over their biologically female counterparts. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that males maintain an advantage in athletics even after two years of taking feminising hormones.
These concerns have prompted 21 Republican-controlled states to pass laws requiring transgender athletes to compete on sports teams that align with their biological sex.
The Biden administration has submitted a new rule to the Federal Register prohibiting states from enacting blanket bans on trans-identified athletes’ participation in women’s sports. The state of Oklahoma has already signaled that it will not comply with the rule when it’s slated to take effect later this month.
Meanwhile, the Kennedy family is divided over Robert F. Kennedy’s views on transgender athletes.
In 2020, the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, which is run by his sister Kerry, demanded that Harry Potter author JK Rowling return an award she received from the group in 2019 for her work with the children’s charity Lumos because of her views on transgender issues.
Now Kerry Kennedy is distancing the organisation from her brother’s presidential bid saying: “I love my brother Bobby, but I do not share or endorse his opinions on many issues.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has previously said: “I think our country’s heading in a bad direction, and that’s why I’m running.”
The latest polls give him less than a third of Joe Biden’s vote in the race for the Democrat’s presidential denomination.