Ohio House Advances Bill Banning Trans Athletes from Girls’ and Women’s Sports

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Ohio state Republican lawmakers got a win in the fight against men competing in women’s sports Wednesday, when their proposed “Save Women’s Sports Act” passed the state’s House Higher Education Committee and will move on for a floor vote in the Ohio House of Representatives.

The bill “ensures that biological males cannot compete in female-only sports in Ohio,” said State Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum), who is championing the bill along with 30 Republican cosponsors. The only Republican that did not vote for the bill, and instead voted “no” along with the Democrats, is Rep. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville). All of the state’s Democrat legislators voted against the bill.

State Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) (Facebook/Jena Powell)

Ohio’s push to protect women athletes at the K-12 and collegiate level puts them among the more than 20 states enacting or considering legislation banning transgender women from competing against biological women.  In April, the North Carolina House “voted 73-39, with three Democrats voting in favor, to separate sports by biological sex, based solely on students’ ‘reproductive biology and genetics at birth,'” according to the AP.

In October, high schools in Cherokee County, North Carolina, were forced to cancel volleyball games when a man, who identified as a woman and had been allowed to play on the women’s team, injured one of the girls during a game, causing “severe head and neck injuries, resulting in long-term concussion symptoms, including vision problems.”


“The Save Women’s Sports Act is a fairness issue for women to be able to achieve their dreams in athletics in our state, and is crucial to preserving women’s rights, and the integrity of women’s and girls’ sports,” Powell said.

Powell stressed the importance of acting to protect women athletes, citing Connecticut as an example, where, as she noted, “nine different girls used to hold the 15 women’s state championship titles. In 2020, those 15 titles were all held by two different biological males.”

“All that girls are asking for is a fair shot, and to be given the chance to play and win by the rules in the sports that they love,” Powell explained. “That opportunity is being ripped from them by biological males.”

Transgender rights advocate holds a sign outside of the Ohio Statehouse to oppose and bring attention to an amendment to a bill that would ban transgender women from participating in high school and college women sports. (Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The bill, which almost made it through both the House and Senate last fall, has gone through a few variations as Republican lawmakers work to create a solution that will succeed as it moves through the state Congress. A previous version of the bill included exams and birth certificates to verify the student athletes’ sex, but both of the provisions were removed from the current bill.

Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, second from right, stands during a rally on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, outside of the NCAA Convention in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

In her statement, Powell quoted former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines, who has championed the cause for female athletes and has been physically attacked by transgender activists. Powell included a quote from Gaines in her statement, where Gaines said:

I thought surely there would be someone, whether that be a coach, or another swimmer, or someone within the NCAA, I thought surely someone would stick up for us. … That’s when I realized it’s my duty as a female athlete who experienced this injustice to really use my voice and my platform to advocate for those female athletes who are emotionally blackmailed and gaslit into silence.

The state of Missouri joined the fight Wednesday as well, passing two bills that ban transgender surgery and drugs for children, as well as the participation of male trans athletes in women’s sports at school.

WATCH: Transgender Activists SHOW THEIR TRUE COLORS, Chase Down Riley Gaines at SFSU:

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