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Ky. Lawmaker Wants To Keep Transgender Athletes Off Women’s Sports Teams

The Kentucky State Capitol on 4/9/20, lit up green in memory of those who died from COVID-19.
The Kentucky State Capitol on 4/9/20, lit up green in memory of those who died from COVID-19.

A Kentucky state lawmaker is introducing legislation that would keep transgender women athletes from playing on women's sports teams. 

Winchester Republican Rep. Ryan Dotson said he’s prefiling a bill that will exclude transgender women and girls from those teams for public schools in the state, including universities. The Kentucky General Assembly will consider it when the next session begins.

“Allowing transgender women to participate in women’s sports gives transgender women an unfair advantage,” he wrote in an emailed statement Thursday.

“The measure would designate that participation for all athletic teams, activities, and sports be based on the biological sex of students eligible to participate,” he said.

He did not provide a copy of the bill request, or a bill request number. As of Thursday afternoon the legislation was not available on the General Assembly’s website.

Similar measures have passed in other GOP-led state legislatures. In Idaho, civil rights groups have challenged the law in court as discriminatory and there's a temporary block.

Researchers say there is no evidence trans women are systematically out-competing cisgender women in sports.

Dotson’s legislation echoes two bills Republicans filed in the last legislative session. Those never made it out of committee. Proposals from Marion Rep. Lynn Bechler andHenderson Sen. Robby Mills’ would have required student athletes to play on teams “based upon the biological sex” of the student. Senate Education Committee chair Max Wise and House Education Committee Chair Regina Huff were cosponsors of their respective chamber’s legislation.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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