Missouri proposal would ban HS trans athletes from competing as gender they identify as

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Missouri is now one of five states where lawmakers are debating proposals to ban transgender athletes in certain activities.

Republican State Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, from northeast Missouri, is pushing for a resolution that would ban student-athletes from competing in events as the gender they identify with.

If passed, the amendment to the state constitution would require athletes to only participate in events based on the gender on their birth certificate.

“I started seeing in the news where, across the country, you had women who are being beaten by biologically born men in big competitions,” O’Laughlin said. “And I thought, 'I just don’t think people think that’s right.'”

Currently, the Missouri State High School Activities Association deals with transgender issues in extracurricular activities on a case-by-case basis. A policy statement in the state handbook went into effect in 2012; it mirrors a policy enacted by the NCAA.

If the resolution restricting transgender activity passes, an amendment to the Missouri state constitution would need be approved by voters.

“So it’s not something that I’m determining solely by myself or someone else. It will be on the ballot for people to vote on,” O’Laughlin said.

Caroline Gibbs with the Transgender Institute vows to fight the proposal. Gibbs argues hormone treatments can create a level playing field.

“It’s absolutely unfair to deny someone a right that by all accounts, physically and medically, they should be participating in,” Gibbs said.

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