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Kan. Senate passes ‘transgender sports bill’

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 7:05 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: In a 24-10 vote, the Kansas Senate approved a bill that would prevent transgender females from participating in girls’ and women’s sports. The measure now moves on to the Kansas House of Representatives.

A bill in the Kansas Senate would prevent girls who are transgender from participating in girls’ and women’s sports. It would apply to athletes who were assigned male at birth, but identify as female. The bill on Tuesday passed the Senate Education Committee, and on Wednesday, is on the floor.

The effort, Republican lawmakers say, would create fairness in girls’ and women’s sports by preventing transgender girls from participating against other females. The fairness aspect is the primary argument from supporters. Opponents of the bill say it will have other, more serious consequences.

Kansas Senator Renee Erickson, R, District 30, said 20 states have introduced similar legislation.

“Senate Bill 20′s sole purpose is to ensure the opportunities I had by ensuring only biological females participate in girls’ sports,” she said.

But some lawmakers like Rep. Stephanie Byers, D, District 86, worry about other serious consequences.

“We’re not talking just trans athletes. We’re talking any trans kid. When they see this put in front of them, the emotional exhaustion of fighting society around you to be who you are, that sometimes leads to those suicide rates being five times higher than the rest of the population,” Byers said.

Those in favor of the bill say transgender girls have an unfair athletic advantage, but in the state, only five transgender students participate in high school sports. That’s one reason Byers says this shouldn’t even be an issue right now.

“The Kansas high school athletic association (Kansas State High School Activities Association) has a policy that’s been in place for nearly a decade,” she said. “The NCAA has a policy that’s been in place for over a decade.”

KSHSAA’s police says the decision when it comes to transgender student participation in sports is up to each school and recommends that they look at the student’s gender identity in their registration records, as well as medical documents. That would include any hormone treatments, psychological counseling or reassignment procedures.

If a school decides to allow the student to participate, the student must do so in that gender’s category for all sports until they graduate. If the bill being discussed in Topeka passes the Senate, it will move on to the Kansas House.

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