Missouri House passes transgender sports ban for girls teams

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A proposed ban on transgender athletes playing female school sports in Utah would affect transgender girls like this 12-year-old swimmer. She and her family spoke with The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to avoid outing her publicly. She cried when she heard about the proposal that would ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams in public high schools, which would separate her from her friends. She’s far from the tallest girl on her team, and has worked hard to improve her times but is not a dominant swimmer in her age group, her coach said. “Other than body parts I’ve been a girl my whole life,” she said. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Transgender girls would be banned from playing on girls’ sports teams under a bill advancing in the Missouri House.

House lawmakers voted 100-51 on Wednesday to add the proposal to another bill. Republican supporters argued the change is needed to protect girls in sports. They decried the risk of being called bigots, hateful or transphobic for proposing the rule.

Democrats at times wept and said the rule change could push transgender children to kill themselves. Missouri’s current public high school sports rules already prohibit transgender girls from competing on girls’ teams unless they’re undoing hormone therapy.

Opponents of the legislation in Missouri have urged the NCAA to keep its championship events out of states where anti-transgender bills have passed.

The NCAA earlier this month responded to that campaign by saying in a statement, in part:

When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants. 

NCAA Statement/April 12, 2021.

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