Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Maryland bill would prevent biological males from playing girls’ sports in schools

Maryland State House on a sunny day with the Maryland flag in the foreground. (WBFF/Kyle Dodd){ }{p}{/p}

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CITC) —

A coalition of Maryland GOP lawmakers are supporting a bill that would require public schools to separate athletic teams by biological sex.

Dubbed the “Fairness In Girls’ Sports Act,” the proposal would also create protections for students who report violations of the law to school employees. Schools would similarly be shielded from punishment by government entities and organizations that disagree with the law.

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If passed, the bill would not impact collegiate sports team. Its effects are limited to high school junior varsity and varsity teams, as well as intramural teams. However, the proposed law would require private schools whose teams compete against public schools to keep biological males off girls’ sports teams.

“Policies with regard to participation in sports are easy to create; there should be no special allowances or rules for gender identity. Bodies play sports, not identities,” a statement released by Del. Kathy Szeliga, R-Baltimore County, reads. “As a society, we can celebrate the differences of individuals but hold bodies accountable in sports. The future of every female athlete counts on it.”

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The proposal has a slim chance of being codified into law in deep-blue Maryland. Gov. Wes Moore, who would likely need to sign the bill for it to become law, has been a full-throated supporter of transgender protections and celebrations. Last year, Gov. Moore signed a proclamation making March 31 “International Transgender Day of Visibility” in Maryland.

Gov. Moore also signed a law last year that requires Medicaid to cover “medically necessary” gender-change procedures for Marylanders. Those procedures, such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers, are often central to the discussion of girls’ sports and whether biologically male competitors can safely and fairly compete against biological females.

The move by Maryland Republicans comes amid longstanding, national controversy about transgender participation in girls’ sports. A high school tennis coach in Oregon announced his resignation last week over the issue, saying on social media he had “reached a point where [he] had to resign last night because of boys playing girls tennis.”

A Connecticut court last month ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by four biological women against the state’s interscholastic athletic association over the issue of transgender competition in girls’ sports. The court determined the four women had the right to sue the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference after losing high school competitions to transgender females.

“It’s been very unfair for me and the other girl competitors to race against [transgender females],” plaintiff Chelsea Mitchell told Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson in 2021. “I personally lost four state championships to all New England awards and countless other opportunities because of it.”

The Maryland bill is scheduled for a committee hearing on Wednesday, January 31 at 1:00 p.m.

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