Bill Banning KY Transgender Women From Competing in Public Schools and University Women’s Sports Licensing Committee | In depth
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) — A bill banning transgender girls and women from competing on women’s teams at public middle and high schools and post-secondary institutions in Kentucky was approved by the House Education Committee on Tuesday.
House Bill 23, sponsored by Representative Ryan Dotson, passed the panel by a vote of 13 to 6. A Republican joined the Democrats on the committee in opposition.
The legislation directs the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and public post-secondary institutions to adopt policies prohibiting participation in women’s sports by those born male at birth. The measure does not cover K-5 sports.
A similar measure that ordered KHSAA to pass regulations prohibiting people identified as male on their birth certificates from competing on women’s sports teams was approved by the Senate Education Committee on Thursday.
Dotson, R-Winchester, said KHSAA’s current policies on the participation of transgender female student-athletes in sports that match their gender identity, which require sex reassignment and post-pubertal hormone therapy, are insufficient to to create “a level playing field for our girls across the Commonwealth”. .”
“By the time of puberty, the physiological differences are already so prevalent and the physical advantages are already there,” he said. “…This law ensures that both sexes have the opportunity to participate in competitive sport.”
Recent laws prohibiting transgender women from participating in women’s sports face legal challenges, and Jackie McGranahan with the ACLU of Kentucky said the state could join others in court if HB 23 becomes law.
“When a state enacts unconstitutional laws and loses in court, taxpayers foot the bill,” said McGranahan, political strategist for the ACLU of Kentucky. “Ultimately, this bill violates Title IX, puts Kentucky at risk of losing money, harms transgender youth to address a problem that clearly doesn’t exist.”
Dotson said there are transgender girls taking “spots” on school sports teams, leading to some cisgender girls being excluded from participation.
“Part of our role as a legislature is to walk the waters and see what’s going on and try to get ahead of some of these issues,” said Rep. Shane Baker, R-Somerset. “Sometimes you need to be preventative to make sure you avoid problems before they happen or get worse.”
Some representatives were also concerned that exceeding HB 23 would jeopardize NCAA eligibility for public post-secondary institutions in Kentucky.
Rep. Killian Timoney, a Republican from Lexington who voted against HB 23, said the fact that about half of all transgender youth have considered suicide in the past two years should be “a dire red flag” for the legislators.
“Right now we’re looking at 50 trans athletes out of 200,000 NCAA athletes, so for non-maths in the house it’s 0.00025%,” Timoney said. “We have time to do it right.”
HB 23 moves to the Chamber floor for further examination.
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