JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Transgender girls and women would no longer be allowed to play on the same team as other girls and women under a bill passed Monday in Missouri’s Republican-led House.
Lawmakers voted 104-46 to send the measure to the GOP-led Senate, which passed similar legislation earlier this year.
The ban would apply to student athletes in grade 6 through college, including teams at private schools. Public K-12 schools and colleges would lose state funding for allowing transgender girls to play sports with other girls.
Republican bill sponsor Rep. Jamie Burger, of Benton, said allowing transgender girls to play with other girls will “wipe out female sports as we know it.”
“Biological males are bigger. They are stronger. They are faster,” Burger said on the House floor late Monday. “The majority of women simply cannot compete.”
Democratic Rep. Keri Ingle, of Lee’s Summit, said children “don’t harbor our fears and our ignorance, and thank God for that.”
“We can’t bear the thought of kids who are different playing with our kids, can we?” she said before voting against the bill.
The Missouri bill is one of hundreds drafted by Republican lawmakers across the U.S. this year to push back on LGBTQ+ freedoms, especially targeting transgender people’s everyday lives — including sports, health care, bathrooms, workplaces and schools.
At least 20 states have imposed restrictions on transgender athletes.
Missouri’s current public high school sports rules already prohibit transgender girls from competing on girls teams unless they have undergone at least a year of hormone therapy and continue taking medication to maintain their hormone levels.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association requires transgender athletes to apply and submit documentation of medical care in order to compete as the gender they identify with.
A spokesperson for the association has said 13 students have been approved since the organization adopted the rules in 2012, including only four transgender girls.
Missouri Republicans also have been working to limit access to gender-affirming treatments for transgender children and adults.
Missouri’s attorney general last week introduced a first-of-its-kind emergency rule imposing numerous restrictions on both adults and children before they can receive puberty-blocking drugs, hormones or surgeries “for the purpose of transitioning gender.”
Bills to ban gender-affirming health care for minors are advancing in the legislature.