CLEVELAND (WJW) — Ohio lawmakers proposed a new House Bill that would prohibit transgender female athletes from participating in girls’ sports.
It’s called the Save Womens’ Sports Act and is being sponsored by Rep. Jena Powell (R) District-80 in Darke County and Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R) District-50 in Stark County.
“We want every girl in our state to achieve her athletic dreams. The Save Women’s Sports Act ensures that happens,” said Rep. Powell.
At a press conference on Wednesday, supporters said the proposed bill is about “fairness” and pointed to a number of issues including physical differences between the genders.
“Biological males possess advantages over females,” said Rep. Powell, “Including greater lung capacity, larger hearts, higher red blood cell counts, stronger tendons and ligaments, greater muscle strength and increased bone density.”
Lawmakers pointed to a Connecticut female track star who repeatedly lost to a biological male runner but went on to win states after the transgender female was disqualified.
Three biological female athletes, including the Connecticut runner, filed a lawsuit in 2019 claiming that allowing transgender competitors was a violation of their Title IX rights.
“Female athletes are being robbed of athletic opportunities, dreams of competing at the next level and even scholarship opportunities when biological males compete against females,” said Rep. Powell.
Supporters say the bill would accommodate for students with an “intersex condition," protect women-only teams and create a process to resolve disputes.
But not everyone agrees with the bill.
At the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, they point out that the Ohio High School Athletic Association already has a defined policy and this new bill would be in violation.
“We’re really surprised and we really don’t understand the need for such a law,” said Gulnar Feerasta, Program Director at the center.
According to OHSAA “Transgender student-athletes should have equal opportunity to participate in sports.”
OHSAA states that “based on sound medical knowledge” transgender females “must have completed a minimum of one year of hormone treatment related to gender transition to participate in girls sports.”
Many in the LGBT community believe denying students the right to participate is discriminatory.
Gulnar also says that points out the benefits and opportunities of participating in sports.
“We all know the positive impact that sports can have on individuals and girls especially,” said Gulnar, “Everybody should have the opportunity to access that regardless of how they express themselves.”
If passed, the new law would apply to “all public schools and colleges and also private schools and colleges that are members of a state or national athletic association.”