Home Christian News 19 State Bills Seek to Restrict Transgender Athletes This Year

19 State Bills Seek to Restrict Transgender Athletes This Year

transgender athletes

Legislators with at least 19 states have introduced bills this year that would restrict student athletes to competing in sports based on their biological sex and not their gender identity. Critics of the legislation claim it violates transgender rights, while advocates argue that restrictions on transgender athletes, particularly trans women, are needed to protect women’s rights.

“It will ruin the opportunity for girls to earn scholarships,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, commenting on transgender women being allowed to compete against biological females. “It will put a glass ceiling back where there hasn’t been one. I think it will destroy women’s sports.”

Wyatt Ronan, who is with the Human Rights Campaign, counters that such bills are “discriminatory anti-transgender legislation” and that “states that pass legislation that attacks our community will face severe economic, legal, and reputational harm.” 

State Bills—and a Federal BillSeek to Restrict Transgender Athletes 

The bill making its way through the Tennessee legislature says: “A student’s gender for purposes of participation in a public middle school or high school interscholastic athletic activity or event must be determined by the student’s sex at the time of the student’s birth, as indicated on the student’s original birth certificates.”

Tennessee’s bill describes the physical advantages that biological males have over females, stating that, “Boys, on average, can be physically stronger than girls, having more skeletal muscle mass than girls and more upper-body and lower-body strength, which can result in injury to girls if girls participate in contact sports with boys.” The legislation reiterates Lee’s argument that allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in women’s sports poses an unfair advantage to women and will prevent women from winning awards and scholarships.

Quite a few of the proposed state bills refer to the disadvantages biological females have when competing against biological males. Some legislators have framed their bills as protecting women’s rights; several bills have the title, “Save Women’s Sports Act.” 

The following states have proposed legislation restricting student athletes who are transgender:

Arizona SB1637
Connecticut HB05795 and SB00324
Georgia HB276
Hawaii HB1304
Iowa HF334 and HF184
Kentucky SB106
Minnesota HF352
Missouri HB1077/HB 1045, HJR53
Mississippi SB2536
Montana HB112
North Dakota HB1298
New Hampshire HB198
Ohio HB61
Oklahoma SB331
South Carolina H3477
South Dakota HB1217
Tennessee SB0228 and HB0003
Texas SB373
Utah HB0302

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has introduced a bill in the federal government similar to the one moving through his state’s legislature. It is called the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act.” In a press release for the bill, Lee said, “When transgender athletes compete against women, women’s sports are no longer women’s sports; they become unisex athletic events. This bill would protect the opportunity of girls throughout America to athletically compete against other girls.”

Sen. Mike Lee’s bill and the other state bills follow the lead of Idaho, which last year passed a law banning transgender women from competing against biological females. After the law passed, the American Civil Liberties Union and Legal Voice filed a lawsuit alleging that the law was unconstitutional. They claimed the legislation was discriminatory and violated the right to privacy because of its requirement to verify students’ biological sex. A judge issued a temporary injunction against the law, and it currently “awaits legal review in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

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Jessica is a writer for ChurchLeaders.com. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past two years. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.