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Proposed PA bill would ban transgender athletes from competing in women's sports

WOLF Wilkes-Barre-Scranton logo WOLF Wilkes-Barre-Scranton 4/6/2021 Jack Reinhard
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A group of Republican state lawmakers are introducing a bill they said would keep women's sports fun and fair in Pennsylvania.  The group of five Republicans that introduced the bill said biological men playing on women's sports teams is unfair

“There is never a bad time to protect opportunities for girls and women who deserve to compete on a level playing field," said Rep. Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland)

Republican State Representative Barb Gleim said biological men playing on women's sports teams could put some women on the sidelines.

“Allowing biological males to compete in girls and women’s sports destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities," said Rep. Gleim.

Representative Gleim is the prime sponsor of House Bill 972, also known as the Fairness in Women's Sports Act.

If passed, the bill would ban biological men from playing on women's sports teams across Pennsylvania.

She said the bill is in response to an executive order signed by President Biden, which bans gender identity discrimination in high school sports.

“We think that this order violates title 9 and reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women," said Rep. Gleim.

Supporters of the bill also argue that biological differences give men athletic advantages over women.

“When a biological male competes on a girls team, a biological female loses something. It could be playing time, a championship or even a scholarship," said Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia)

The Women's Law Project is a public interest law center in Pennsylvania that defends various groups, including the LGBTQ community.

In a post it said: "Five lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives announced they plan to introduce legislation called “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” in Pennsylvania this Monday, April 5.

This is the same title as legislative bans targeting transgender student-athletes recently introduced in other states.

The five primary sponsors are Rep. Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland), Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia), Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-York), Rep. Valarie Gaydos (R-Allegheny), and Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R- Clinton/Centre).

It is appalling that our Representatives are falling into line with national right-wing strategists to attack vulnerable transgender youth when they should be working to help and protect transgender kids in Pennsylvania.

Studies show about 2% of young people identify as transgender.

Transgender students are already vulnerable. More than a quarter already feel unsafe at school and 35% report being bullied at school—about the same percentage that have attempted suicide. Transgender students are more likely to be victims of violence than other students.

We need to protect transgender and gender-nonconforming students and let kids be kids. We stand with transgender and non-binary Pennsylvanians and their families. Please join us."

Other states, including Arkansas have passed legislation that bans transgender athletes from participating in women's sports. We reached out to Democratic House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton for comment, but still have not heard back.

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