Idaho takes another step to ban transgender women from female teams

Idaho takes another step to ban transgender women from female teams

Idaho has taken another step toward banning transgender women from female teams, as legislation aimed at doing so passed the state’s House of Representatives.

The Republican-led House on Wednesday passed a bill to forbid students who were born male but identify as female from participating in women’s sports at public schools, colleges and universities, The Associated Press reported

The bill now heads to the GOP-led Senate. A spokeswoman for Gov. Brad Little (R) told The Hill that he does not comment on pending legislation. 

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The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R), argued in a statement to The Hill that it's "absolutely about protecting opportunities for girls and women in sports."

"I want to continue to do my part to preserve these opportunities for girls and women who follow so they will be able to reap the benefits that playing sports provides," she said.

Ehardt also said the law would only apply to Idaho-based student-athletes, and students from other states could still participate in competitions in the Gem State, according to the AP.

Supporters of the bill say those born male have physical advantages over women in sports, while opponents say it discriminates against transgender women. 

State Rep. Muffy Davis (D), who has won seven medals in the Paralympic Games, called the bill the "most restrictive, discriminatory and unconstitutional bill.”

"We have never had an issue and this bill is simply a solution looking for a problem, but one that I fear ultimately could hurt all female student athletes in Idaho, cis- and transgender, because of the invasive procedures required to 'prove' gender," she said in a statement to The Hill.

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has previously taken action against states that have passed bills limiting the participation of transgender people, but it is unclear if the NCAA would take action involving Idaho.

The NCAA said in a statement that it is monitoring proposed bills that "could have a negative impact on transgender athletes."

"We have established policy and guidance to ensure transgender student-athletes have fair, respectful and legal access to collegiate sports participation," the statement reads. "Through those policies, we create inclusive and equitable athletics opportunities for all student-athletes."

--Updated on Feb. 27 at 5:58 p.m.