Arizona House passes bill banning transgender students from competing in girls sports
The Arizona House of Representatives passed a ban on students who are transgender girls from participating in girls sports at schools across the state Tuesday.
The bill, H.B. 2706, requires that teams in the state must be “expressly designated” for “males, men or boys;” “females, women or girls;” or “co-ed or mixed sex.” Athletic teams “designated for females, women or girls may not be open to students of the male sex,” under the proposal.
The bill passed along a party-line vote of 31-29 on Tuesday, and it will now be sent to the state Senate. It will apply to both public and private schools, as well as community colleges and universities.
The bill, introduced by GOP state Rep. Nancy Barto, originally required that students get a sworn doctor’s statement detailing their genetic makeup, “internal and external reproductive anatomy” and “normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone.”
However, Barto later amended the bill to only require a genetic test, if a student’s sex is disputed, the Arizona Republic reported. Democratic lawmakers called the original proposal as the “show me your genitals law.”
Democratic state legislators have criticized the bill, arguing that the measure is an overreach by the state into a choice that should be left to students, their families and schools, according to the outlet.
“We’re policing gender,” Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez (D) said, the Arizona Republic reported. “We’re trying to decide if that person is feminine enough or not feminine enough and we’re using that to justify subjecting our transgender athletes to additional barriers to participating in sports.”
Lawmakers argued for more than five hours of debate before the bill’s passage, with Republicans claiming that the legislation is protecting women’s sports. Barto said Tuesday that “We tried to make it very emotional, like we’re going after a group. But, no, this is a pro-woman bill. This is a bill to save women’s sports because, frankly, it won’t be saved if we don’t clarify the law.”
The Arizona Interscholastic Association, which governs athletics at schools in the state, also already has policies for transgender students to compete in athletics. It requires students receive letters of support from parents, a school administrator and a health professional. The student also has to receive support from a committee and the association’s executive board, according to the Arizona Republic.
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