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Ohio Republicans Propose Ban On Transgender Athletes In Girls' And Women's Sports

State Reps. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.) and Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) speak at the press conference announcing their planned legislation.
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
State Reps. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.) and Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) speak at the press conference announcing their planned legislation.

Two Ohio Republican lawmakers say they’re working on a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing on female teams in high schools and colleges.

State Reps. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.) and Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) say their "Save Women’s Sports Act" will ban people who were designated male at birth from joining female-only school teams.

Under a policy set by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, "transgender student athletes should have equal opportunity to participate in sports." Transgender girls are allowed to participate in a girls' sport after completing a minimum of one year of hormone treatment, or if medical evidence demonstrates that they don't possess physical or physiological advantages over girls the same age.

Despite that policy, Powell said it's unfair for "biological males" to compete in girls' and women's sports because of their advantages in strength and performance. She says the bill is about preserving the integrity of women’s sports and the dreams of female athletes who are pursuing a win, a scholarship or a career.

“That opportunity is being ripped away from them by biological males competing in their sport," Powell said.

At least four other states are considering similar legislation.

“This legislation is yet another harmful attempt to erase transgender people from public life, this time by targeting children who just want to participate in the sports they love while being their authentic selves," said a member for the group TransOhio in a statement. "Letting transgender children play sports harms no one, but prohibiting it means legislators are ripping away access to fun, developmental, cooperative childhood experiences that young athletes should be able to learn from and enjoy. We all lose when we prevent trans kids from being themselves and having a childhood—it’s completely against the ethos of athletics.”

Conservatives in the Ohio House have introduced another bill to ban doctors from prescribing drugs to delay puberty or performing gender-affirming surgery on transgender kids. That bill is opposed by LGBTQ advocates and medical experts.