Kansas Passes Bill Banning Transgender Athletes From Competing On Female Sports Teams
Kansas has voted in favour of a bill which would see transgender athletes banned from competing on female sports teams.
It comes shortly after Mississippi’s House and Senate passed a bill which will ban transgender people from female teams at any of the state’s high schools or universities, if signed off by the governor.
Yesterday, March 17, the Kansas Republican-controlled Senate passed a similar piece of legislation, titled the ‘Fairness in Women Sports Act’, in a 24-10 vote.
Echoing controversial proposals across the US, the Kansas bill states that transgender people cannot participate in female sporting teams in schools or universities.
Republican Senator Molly Baumgardner, who sits as chair of the education committee, said as per Fox News: ‘What we heard in testimony is that there are parents and there are student-athletes that want to compete against folks that have that same physical makeup.’
The Family Policy Alliance of Kansas praised the recent support of the bill, dubbing it a ‘victory’ for women in the state. Brittany Jones, the alliance’s director of advocacy, said in a statement: ‘Girls desire a fair playing field. That is all this bill provides. To every female athlete – this is a declaration that there is a place for you to shoot for the stars in Kansas.’
As reported by The Kansas City Star, Senate President Ty Masterson argued the bill would ensure those who aren’t transgender aren’t the ‘underdogs’ in teams. ‘I know there’s emotion that exists in modern identity politics. Without those things this would be a very simple non-controversial bill,’ he said.
Masterson added that it wasn’t about ‘sexuality, it is not about orientation, it is not about identity, it is not about discrimination. What it is about very simply, fair competition in women’s sports.’
Among the many criticisms of the Senate’s position, its minority leader Dinah Sykes described Masterton’s claim as ‘misogynistic’ and said it was based on a ‘lie’, adding that it showed ‘how little [transgender people’s] elected representatives value their lives.’
She said: ‘Excluding women that are trans hurts all women. This legislation reinforces stereotypes that women are weak and in need of protection. This is not about protecting women, this is about excluding women from sports.’
Stephanie Byers, the first openly transgender person to serve in the Kansas state legislature, was sceptical about the bill’s prospects, also stating: ‘Trans girls are real girls, and their bodies are just diverse, they’re different, and as anyone can tell you, no two women are exactly alike. It’s realising that we have those differences. That’s part of the richness of what makes us human beings.’
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