(WKBN) – This week, two Ohio Statehouse representatives proposed a bill that would ban transgender athletes from girls high school sports.
The bill, called the Save the Women’s Sports Act, is similar to proposals in several states and to a federal lawsuit in Connecticut.
“What the bill does, it says that if you were born a biological male, you can’t participate in female sports. So it’s actually a very simple piece of legislation to help protect women’s sports in our state,” said Rep. Jena Powell.
Powell is a Republican representative from Miami and Darke counties. She says the bill gives every girl an equal playing field.
“When biological males compete against females in sports, it robs girls of their athletic opportunity and the opportunity to be on the podium in the State of Ohio,” she said.
When asked for examples in Ohio, Powell could not think of any.
Here in the Valley, many in the LGBTQ community disagree with her.
Daniel Tirabassi is the director of client care at the Full Spectrum Community Outreach Center in Struthers. He says transgender people go through treatment that physically makes them the gender they identify as.
Because of this, Tirabassi believes the passage of the bill could bring unnecessary harm.
“Not only for transgender individuals who want to perform in their gender, their identified gender’s athletic sporting events, but it is harmful to females that say they aren’t good enough as the transgender individual themselves,” he said.
Tirabassi also thinks the effects of the bill could discourage transgender athletes altogether.
“People start not competing in things that they love because they don’t want the notion of being the gay player or the transgender player. So you start losing very quality athletes from performing or start having people lose themselves for being a quality athlete,” he said.
Currently, the Ohio High School Athletic Association allows transgender athletes to participate as the gender they identify as. It has rules that require those athletes not to have physical advantages over their competitors.
PIAA Transgender Policies and Procedures