The Ohio State House last week passed a bill that would ban transgender athletes from participating in competitions alongside athletes whose biologically determined gender does not correspond with their own.
According to HB 151:
Each school that participates in athletic competitions or events administered by an organization that regulates interscholastic athletic conferences or events shall designate interscholastic athletic teams based on the sex of the participants as follows:
(1) Separate teams for participants of the female sex within female sports divisions;
(2) Separate teams for participants of the male sex within male sports divisions;
(3) If applicable, co-ed teams for participants of the female and male sexes within co-ed sports divisions.
The bill was sponsored by State Representative Jena Powell (R-Arcanum).
“The Save Women’s Sports Act is a fairness issue for women. Across our country, female athletes are currently losing championships, scholarship opportunities, medals, education and training opportunities, and more to discriminatory policies that allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports,” Powell said.
“All these girls ask for is a fair shot, and to be given the chance to play and win by the rules in the sports that they love,” she said. “The opportunity is being ripped from them by biological males.
According to the bill, if an athlete’s sex is disputed, it shall be decided by the athlete’s “internal and external reproductive anatomy,” “normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone,” and a “analysis of the participant’s genetic makeup.”
Notably, it passed on June 1, the first day of LGBT Pride Month.
It will now head to the Republican-controlled Senate.
HB 151 directly contradicts the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s (OHSAA) current policy on transgender athletics, which allows biological males to compete in female athletic competitions.
“Transgender student athletes should have equal opportunity to participate in sports,” that policy says. “The integrity of women’s sports should be preserved. Policies governing sports should be objective, workable and predictable; they should also be written, available and equitably enforced. Policies governing the participation of transgender students in sports should be fair in light of the tremendous variation among individuals in strength, size, musculature and ability.”
Such bills have been passed and signed into law in Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.
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