Two Ohio state representatives are set to introduce a bill this week that would prevent biological men from competing in women’s sports.
The Save Women’s Sports Act (SWSA), co-sponsored by Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) and Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.), will designate that sport teams be based on a person’s biological sex rather than how he or she feels.
This bill is trying to safeguard “the integrity of school sports,” Stoltzfus said in a statement.
In a press conference Tuesday, Powell said, “The Save Women’s Sports Act is a fairness issue for women. This bill ensures that every little girl who works hard to make it on a podium is not robbed of her chance by a biological male competing against her in a biological female sport. We want every little girl to achieve her athletic dream here in the state of Ohio.”
SWSA would protect schools who have women-only teams from government lawsuits. Furthermore, this bill has a process that resolve disputes around people’s sexuality; people who have an intersex condition or a sexual development disorder will be accommodated if they can prove they are female.
“It is not my desire to hurt anyone or punish those who may be affected by this legislation in some way, but to protect fair competition,” Stoltzfus said. “I seek to treat all people with dignity and respect by promoting a level playing field in Ohio’s inter-scholastic athletics.”
The measure would apply to “all public schools and colleges and any private schools or colleges that are members of a state or national athletic association.”
EqualityOhio, an advocate group for the transgender community, told the Dayton Daily News that transgender students should not be “singled out” for discrimination.
“Some in Ohio are continuing to try and take aim at transgender youth, and we will not allow it. Everybody should be able to play sports,” EqualityOhio Director Alana Jochum said. “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.”
Currently, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has a policy for transgender women that requires these biological boys to compete in women sports.
“Before a transgender female can participate in a girl’s sport or on a girls’ team she must either (1) have completed a minimum of one year of hormone treatment related to gender transition or (2) demonstrate to the Executive Director’s Office by way of sound medical evidence that she does not possess physical (bone structure, muscle mass, testosterone, hormonal, etc.),” the policy reads.
However, a study released in September showed men who are undergoing hormone therapy seeking to change their gender maintain strength advantages over biological women.
At the press conference, Powell cited Connecticut as an example of where trans athletes have started to dominate women sports. In 2016, nine different girls won 15 different state championships in track and field in the state. However, when the state allowed transgender women to compete in women’s sports in 2017, two biological men have captured these state championships since.
This month, three female high school student athletes sued the state of Connecticut seeking to overturn the state’s transgender athlete policy, arguing their Title IX rights are being violated.
“No girl should have to settle into her starting blocks knowing that you don’t have a fair shot at winning,” one of the plaintiffs, Chelsea Mitchell, said at a press conference held earlier in February on the Connecticut capital steps about the suit.
As of January 2020, Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire, Washington, Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri have introduced bills that would prevent transgender women from competing in women’s sports, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]