A committee of the Utah state House of Representatives advanced a bill on Thursday to ban biological boys from competing on female sports teams in the state’s public and private K-12 schools.
HB302, titled the Preserving Sports for Female Students bill, passed on an 8-6 vote and was introduced by state Rep. Kera Birkeland, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. If passed, it would require all schools to delineate whether sports are “male,” “female,” or “coed.”
The bill, which defines sex as the “biological, physical condition of being male or female, determined by an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth,” would forbid biological males from competing in female sports, regardless of their gender identity. The bill will subsequently move to a full House vote.
“Across America, there are stories of individuals who identified as male at birth competing against our female athletes,” Birkeland argued, who is also a junior varsity high school basketball coach. “These individuals who identify as male at birth are breaking records that no female will be able to reach. They’re taking championships, titles, and scholarships from our female athletes. To say it’s taking a toll on our female athletes would be an understatement.”
The bill also met with pushback, such as from pediatrician and public health advocated Jennifer Plumb, who said, “We hear that there is not one transgender athlete playing right now in our state schools. I’ll tell you what we have had: between 2017 and 2019, we had 414 young Utahns kill themselves. We need to think about what we’re doing here when we put bills in place that already take a vulnerable population and say they do not matter. Please support our kids. This is a problem that does not exist.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently expressed their intention to go after states that ban transgender individuals from school sports. In a lengthy Twitter thread, the ACLU attempted to bust several alleged “myths” about trans athletes.
As The Daily Wire reported:
The next two “myths” the ACLU attempted to bust were that trans athletes have an unfair advantage in sports and that allowing biological men to compete against women could be dangerous.
“Trans athletes do not have an unfair advantage in sports,” they asserted. “Trans athletes vary in athletic ability just like cisgender athletes. In many states, the very same cis girls who have claimed that trans athletes have an ‘unfair’ advantage have consistently performed as well as or better than transgender competitors.”
Regarding the claim that biological men competing against biological women could prove problematic, the ACLU assured that “including trans athletes will benefit everyone.” Far worse, they claimed, would be to exclude trans women from women’s sports because it would hurt all women. “It invites gender policing that could subject any woman to invasive tests and accusations of being ‘too masculine’ or ‘too good’ at their sport to be a ‘real’ woman.”
Related: ACLU Issues Twitter Thread Allegedly Debunking ‘Myths’ About Trans Students In Sports