The bills passed have transphobic rules to determine if a student is allowed to play on a certain team. (Photo Credit: Orlando Florin Rosue via Adobe Stock)

More than 30 states have passed bills relating to the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which would prohibit transgender women from participating in women’s sporting events. These bills are targeting middle and high school students across the United States, claiming the exclusions will even the playing field by keeping “men” from playing in women’s teams. 

The criteria for students seeking to enroll in sports will be as follows, according to state representative Mark Brody (R-NC), “In order to decide who is or isn’t a female, we put a bright-line test, that says whatever you were born biologically. Were you an XX or an XY? That’s the test. It’s really as simple as that.” (bit.ly/3rqGiyb).

According to the Ohio House of Representatives, the introduction of the Save Women’s Sport Act (House Bill 527), would serve to protect female athletes by creating regulations that “biological males cannot play on female teams” (bit.ly/2PuVKvR).

During the press conference for HB 527, Ohio State Representative Reggie Stolzfus was asked if he believed in referring to transgender individuals with their preferred pronouns. He refused to provide an answer. 

The bill goes on to claim that the “Save Women’s Sports Act” also [specify] biological men who identify as a female cannot be categorized as a woman [in order] to compete against women in sports.” (bit.ly/3tX5ON5). 

South Carolina, Kansas and Mississippi are some of the other states that have recently passed similar bills regarding women’s sports. In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves has publicly endorsed law SB 2536, which will not allow for any transgender participants in sporting events. The law’s guidelines include using students’ dead names (generally prior to transitioning names), inappropriate pronouns and enforcing they wear clothing that is not gender-confirming (bit.ly/2PadqNA).

House Bill 1217, as enacted by South Dakota, opens their legislative findings with the determination that there is no gray area or fluidity within the gender binary (bit.ly/3rmYmJn). This bill states that “one is either male or female,” allowing no room for gender expansive individuals, especially those who identify as intersex, genderfluid or gender non-comforming, in addition to those who identify as transgender. 

The bill goes on to cite Emma Hilton, a developmental biologist, on her piece titled “Transgender Women in the Female Category of Sport: 24 Perspectives on Testosterone Suppression and Performance Advantage, Sports 25 Med” (2020). This study details the assertion that transgender women create situations for both female and male sports teams that are unfair to all participating parties and is entirely based on biological factors, rather than social factors and taking physical fitness and cardiovascular endurance into account without any in-field studies to be cited. 

Hilton’s findings state that children display different athletic abilities as they develop into puberty, but does not interact with transgender or otherwise gender expansive youths throughout the study. The scientific aspects of this research are not conducive with outliers such as cisgender women who are larger and faster than their male competitors; for example, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Blanka Vlasic or Maria Sharapova. 

Filed on March 22, North Carolina’s House Bill 358 makes the false claim that cisgender women in high school are no longer able to access scholarships or achieve in athletics because transgender women are allowed to participate in women’s sports.

Brody made his intentions with HB 358 clear, “I do not want to wait until biological females are pushed out of female sports.” These intentions were widely backed by several Republican representatives who voiced fears that cisgender women in sports would become obsolete if transgender women were included in their teams. 

Several North Carolina based organizations have come out publicly against the bill, including Equality NC, Transcend Charlotte and Time Out Youth (bit.ly/31ppwoG). 

LGBTQ youth have taken to social media, as well, to protest the “Save Women’s Sports Act.”  Transgender youth have been speaking out about the obstacles they face attending middle and high school, regardless of sports or athletics. Several have shared that the class they are most hesitant to attend is indeed Physical Education, because of the gendered assertions that P.E. teachers often utilize. 

Public supporters of HB 358 are also showing up on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

In the comment section of the Facebook page for WCNC-TV Charlotte, response to their news report on HB 358 confirms there are several individuals who feel that transgender youth are not to be admitted into any existing sports teams. 

One person wrote, “I have no issue with how a person identifies. I do, however, have a huge problem with guys competing in girls’ events. Give the people who identify with another sex their own sporting group,” (bit.ly/3sqSIre).

This rhetoric is almost identical to that of those who strongly supported HB 2, instead suggesting that transgender individuals have “their own bathroom” without offering any suggestions as to funding for such restrooms.

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