Earlier this week, the Kansas Senate voted to approve a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing in female sports, according to reports.
In a 24-10 vote, the Republican controlled state Senate approved the “Fairness in Women Sports Act” that would require public schools and state colleges to categorize sports teams based on an athlete’s gender at birth.
“What we heard in testimony is that there are parents and there are student-athletes that want to compete against folks that have that same physical makeup,” Sen. Molly Baumgardner, a Republican and chair of the education committee, said, according to KSNT-TV in Topeka, Kansas.
The bill has reportedly been a priority for Kansas Republicans, joining Republicans in Congress and more than 20 state legislatures pushing for similar bans.
The Family Policy Alliance of Kansas hailed the advancement of the bill as a “victory” for women and girls in the state.
“Girls desire a fair playing field. That is all this bill provides,” Brittany Jones, the alliance’s Director of Advocacy said in a statement, according to WIBW-TV in Topeka. “To every female athlete – this is a declaration that there is a place for you to shoot for the stars in Kansas.”
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, labelled the bill “regressive” and Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes said the vote was “hateful,” “rooted in bigotry,” and a failure in “compassionate government and leadership.” She said it shows “how little…elected representatives value [trans] lives and contributions to our state,” WIBW reported.
“I appreciate several of my male colleagues telling me how they want to protect the underdog, how men are superior. I actually find that rather misogynistic and rude,” she said. “Excluding women who are trans hurts all women.”
Other opponents of the bill have said it would lead to bullying. On the Senate floor, lawmakers argued it’s about making things fair.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves just signed a bill banning trans girls on girls’ sports teams last week.