Bill filed proposes athletes compete on teams based on gender at birth

Local News

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) A western Kentucky state senator files a bill proposing new rules on what teams high school and college athletes can play for.

State Senator Robby Mills, R-Henderson County, filed the bill known as the save women’s sports act. It requires athletes to play for teams based on their gender at birth.

The bill is already receiving sharp criticism from LGBTQ activists.

The bill, filed late last week, would assign athletes to teams based on birth gender instead of their preferred identity. Critics say it’s a political attack against transgender students. Supporters disagree.

“It is addressing an issue that I feel needs to be addressed,” State Sen. Mills.

The bill also sets new rules on access to locker rooms based on gender, and prevents a school board or state agency from taking action against a school for maintaining separate sports for female athletes. Mills claims it’s about keeping a level playing field for boys and girls.

“Ultimately, if biological males are allowed to compete with females in sports like weightlifting, track and field events, this is going to diminish what Title IX was all about 50 years ago,” he says.

Current KHSAA rules say each student-athlete shall participate according to the gender as listed on their birth certificate unless they were legally reassigned, and it sets eligibility requirements for those who’ve undergone sex reassignment procedure.

“There is no need at all for Sen. Mills’s proposal,” said Chris Hartman, Exec. Director of the Fairness Campaign. Hartman also says the bill is a political ploy and current rules are already very strict.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association already has incredibly strict rules for transgender kids competing in high school athletics. I would bet there are few to no transgender kids who can currently meet the requirements set forth by the KHSAA,” he said.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, KHSAA lawyer Chad Collins says “the association’s worked with member schools and the state board to set the current policy and feels it addresses many of those issues. At the same time, we certainly respect the authority of the Kentucky General Assembly and always stand ready to have a dialogue in an effort to continue to improve education-based athletics across the Commonwealth.”

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(This story was originally published on January 27, 2020)

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