/  06.04.2022

Right before they take off for summer break, Ohio House Republicans passed a bill banning transgender girls from joining female high school and college sports teams on Wednesday (June 1) night.

House Bill 151 was passed with heavy GOP support 56-28 party-line. It would require transgender female athletes to join male or co-ed teams. If a student’s biological sex is called into question, they must get a signed statement from a doctor verifying it. Any schools that knowingly violate the rules of House Bill 151 could face legal action.

Republicans who voted for the bill says it is about protecting women’s rights and sports. They argue that transgender girls have biological advantages that makes them more likely to win against their cisgender peers. “We want every little girl to achieve her athletic dream here in the state of Ohio,” Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, said.

This bill, which came on the first day of Pride Month will go to the Senate next for consideration but that won’t be happening anytime soon. It’s been reported that the House and the Senate won’t meet until after the November election.

LGBTQ advocates speak out as they see this bill as discriminating against a group of kids who face higher rates of bullying, depression and suicide. “The health and safety of our youth are not negotiable,” Equality Ohio executive director Alana Jochum said in a statement. “This should not be a partisan issue, and we are appalled that our lawmakers are once again causing real harm to LGBTQ+ youth to score political points. All Ohio youth deserve the opportunity to play on a sports team with their peers without having to hide who they are,” she added.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association allows transgender girls and boys to compete on teams that align with their gender if they meet certain physical criteria. “Transgender student athletes should have equal opportunity to participate in sports,” their policy states. “The integrity of women’s sports should be preserved. Policies governing sports should be objective, workable and predictable; they should also be written, available and equitably enforced. Policies governing the participation of transgender students in sports should be fair in light of the tremendous variation among individuals in strength, size, musculature and ability.”

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