COLUMBUS — A pair of Ohio lawmakers plan to introduce legislation that would bar transgender athletes from competing in female sports, a move they say would preserve the integrity of school athletics.
But opponents of the measure say it prohibits students from participating in their favorite sports.
State Reps. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, and Reggie Stoltzfus, R-Paris Twp., announced the Save Women’s Sports Act, which would designate male and female sports teams based on the biological sex of a person.
“The Save Women’s Sports Act is a fairness issue for women,” Powell said in a news release. “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.”
The legislation would apply to public schools and colleges. It would also apply to private schools or colleges that belong to a state or national athletic association.
In introducing the bill, the lawmakers cited Connecticut, where nine different girls used to hold the 15 women’s state championship titles. Today, a pair of biological males hold those titles.
“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 in a news release. “I seek to treat all people with dignity and respect by promoting a level playing field in Ohio’s inter-scholastic athletics.”
The lawmakers said the legislation protects schools and colleges that preserve women-only teams from the government levying punishment under state or local nondiscrimination laws. It also protects the student from any retaliatory measures a school might take, the lawmakers said.
The bill also establishes “a process to resolve any disputes over a student’s sex” and “respectfully accommodates those who have an intersex condition or disorder of sexual development to demonstrate they are, in fact, a female,” according to a news release.
LGBTQ advocates, however, are asking their supporters to call lawmakers and tell them to oppose the proposal.
“These students just want to play their favorite sports with their peers and have fun,” TransOhio said in a Facebook post. “The attacks on transgender children by our state lawmakers needs to stop. Please contact the bill’s sponsors today and tell them why all children in Ohio should be granted equal opportunity to participate in school activities.”
Todd DeFeo is a contributor to The Center Square