Republican legislators in five states are drafting legislation to prevent men and women in high schools from participating in sports based on gender identity rather than their biological sex.
Lawmakers specifically said they want to protect women from facing unfair competition from men who claim to be transgender women.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the development:
The bills—introduced or prefiled in New Hampshire, Washington, Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri—reflect growing attention around the issue of whether transgender-rights protections are leading to unfair competition in women’s sports.
Policies regulating the eligibility of transgender high-school athletes are usually set by school associations and vary. In about a third of states, transgender students can freely compete on teams of the gender they identify with, according to transathlete.com, which tracks athletics policies nationwide.
Like the National Collegiate Athletic Association, some high-school associations allow transgender females to participate on girls’ teams if they meet certain conditions, such as completing a period of testosterone-suppression treatment or gender-reassignment surgery.
But several states do not have formal guidelines addressing this issue.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the bills apply to high school students, so they don’t conflict with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) guidelines, which allow transgender female athletes to compete on women’s college teams after completing a year of testosterone-suppression treatment.
The lawmakers cite advantages that males competing as transgender women have over biological females, including differences in muscle mass, bone strength, lung capacity, and heart size — all differences that cannot be changed by hormone therapy or surgery.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
Critics say the legislation is unnecessary and could raise constitutional concerns about due process and discrimination. Lawmakers interviewed said they couldn’t point to eligibility disputes in their own states, but cited examples elsewhere such as in Connecticut, where two transgender female high-schoolers recently dominated the state’s girls indoor track championships.
The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a complaint last year with the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of three female high school athletes challenging Connecticut’s transgender athletic policy.
“I’m just trying to maintain fairness,” said Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-TN), sponsor of a trans-athlete bill. “I don’t want girls to be at a disadvantage.”
Griffey’s bill would prevent public funding to schools that allow athletics participation based on students’ declared gender identity as opposed to a student’s biological sex at birth and would impose fines on school officials who don’t comply with the law.
The Wall Street Journal interviewed a “transgender attorney” with the American Civil Liberties Union about the trend. Chase Strangio said the laws would discourage transgender children from taking part in competitive sports.
“I think it will be the year of the trans-athletes bills in the way that 2016 was the year of the trans-bathroom bills,” Strangio said.
The Wall Street Journal reported on a bill in New Hampshire that says school-sponsored sports and teams designated for women “shall only be open to students of the female sex.”
“It states that a disqualified student can prove she is female by submitting a physician-signed statement attesting to the student’s reproductive anatomy, testosterone levels and sex chromosomes,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
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