Kentucky Senate passes bill to limit transgender girls in sports
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Senate passed a bill on Wednesday to stop transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams. That followed a “Let Kids Play” rally in the Capitol rotunda.
While the bill did pass in a 27-8 vote, there was heated debate amongst Senators.
“There has not been one example of a problem here in Kentucky. Not one. Yet here we are, going to pass law to solve a problem that didn’t exist to send that message. Is that the message we want to send?” Senator David Yates said.
“I threw discus and shotput in high school, and I don’t think I would have the records I have or the opportunity I had, if I was competing against a biologically male counterpart,” Senator Robinn Webb said.
Amid the controversy, and with a Fairness rally outside their doors, the Senate passed bill 83. It would require the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and the State Board of Education to establish that an athletic activity or sport designated as “girls” shall not be open to members of the male sex. This means transgender girls cannot compete on girls’ sports teams.
Proponents of the bill, like Senator Robby Mills, said boys have biological advances over girls. Sen. Webb said she believes allowing transgender girls to play undermines Title IX protections.
“I was a product of Title IX and when you say that government shouldn’t get in sports, I disagree with that. Title IX has enabled me, my daughter and an entire generation of female athletes to go on,” Sen. Webb said.
Critics like Sen. Yates say the vote is a waste of time and resources. He said the KHSAA already regulates who plays, by only allowing students to participate in sports based on their gender on their birth certificate, unless they have proper documentation that their gender has been reassigned.
For Senator Karen Berg, the bill hits even closer to home. She has a transgender son and says she feels passing a bill like this sends a message of hatred.
“It has the ability to make sixth, seventh and eighth grade trans females not have a team to participate in, but more importantly it makes them feel like they will not be included on purpose. On purpose,” Sen. Berg said.
The Senate did vote to amend the bill to exclude elementary aged kids.
The House does have its own version of the bill. It is being considered by a committee before a vote.
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