Here’s how this worked. HB 61 wasn’t actually scheduled, but Republicans forced the language into House Bill 151 (which would revise the state’s teacher residency program) and it was revealed at essentially the last minute. This means, among other things, that advocates and allies didn’t have real-time to prepare and do outreach and educate.
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“All these girls ask for is a fair shot, and to be given the chance to play and win by the rules in the sports that they love,” Republican Rep. Jena Powell, who snuck in the amendment said shortly before the bill passed. “The opportunity is being ripped from them by biological males.” Without any facts or evidence, she falsely claimed cis girls are losing scholarships, medals, opportunities, and education because of trans youth.
And to be clear: Trans girls and women are girls and women, not “biological males.” It’s transphobic and offensive to use that language when describing trans women, and it of course only feeds into the paranoid, hysterical conservative idea that trans people are “pretending” or trying to “trick” people about their sex and gender identity. It’s hateful, discriminatory, and simply inaccurate.
Local outlet News 5 reporter Morgan Trau says she tried to access the substitute bill on more than one occasion while the House was in session but she wasn’t able to; Democrats reportedly told her they also didn’t have it, and Republicans either said the same or didn’t reply. She received it before the public got it online, but even that went up only a few hours before the vote.
The bill explicitly bans anyone of the “male sex” from participating in women's sports. If someone’s sex is “disputed” they must prove their sex with a statement from their physician that includes details about the “internal and external reproductive anatomy” as well as their genetic makeup and testosterone levels.
It’s unclear who would foot the bill for all of this testing.
Again: This is discrimination. These bills are based on hate, ignorance, and an attempt to keep a gullible voter base fired up and angry at the wrong people. Trans folks are not dangerous demons clamoring to “steal” medals or fanfare on the field. Trans student-athletes are just like cis student-athletes in that they want to have a community, make friends, gain skills, and get some exercise. That’s it. Given the disproportionate rates at which trans youth are bullied and harassed at school, taking away chances to build camaraderie is especially cruel.
It shouldn’t matter, but there is only one openly trans girl playing high school sports in the entire state, per News 5. It’s not like Republicans have bigger issues to legislate about, right?
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