Ohio Bill Would Bar Transgender Athletes from Girls Sports

AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb

A Republican lawmaker in Ohio is sponsoring legislation to protect female student athletes from competing against biological men, who “identify” as women.

State Rep. Jena Powell’s Save Women’s Sports Act would mandate that the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) block transgender male students from competing in girls sports.

“Women’s rights in the field of athletics are being trampled upon when we allow high school and college biological males to compete against biological women and girls,” Powell and co-sponsor state Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus, said in a joint statement. “If we want to preserve women’s rights, and the integrity of women’s sports, we must pass the Save Women’s Sports Act.”

The Dayton Daily News reported on the evolution of high school sports in the state:

The OHSAA adopted a transgender policy in December 2018 that allows athletes to participate on teams that match their gender identity. The policy requires athletes and their families to make a request to the school administration, which in turn gives notice to the state athletic association. The OHSAA executive director then takes action on the request.

The policy allows girls transitioning to boys to participate in boys sports. Boys transitioning to girls must have completed at least a year of hormone treatment or demonstrate to the OHSAA that they don’t have a physical advantage over genetic female athletes in the same age group.

“Look, biological men should not be competing in female sports,” Powell said. “This is not only in Ohio, it’s a movement across the United States.”

“We’re just trying to create fairness across the board for female athletes,” Powell said.

Activists oppose the bill, including EqualityOhio, which describes it as discrimination.

“Some in Ohio are continuing to try and take aim at transgender youth, and we will not allow it,” Alana Jochum, head of the organization said in the Dayton Daily News story. “Everybody should be able to play sports.”

“It’s important that we affirm the importance of girls’ sports while making sure that all of our children can take advantage of the opportunities that school sports offer,” Jochum said.

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