Ky. Senate panel advances ban on transgender athletes

Mom advocates for her 8-year-old transgender daughter. She wants her to be able to participate...
Mom advocates for her 8-year-old transgender daughter. She wants her to be able to participate in sports.(WKYT)
Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 2:17 PM CST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT/AP) - A Kentucky Senate committee has advanced a bill to bar transgender girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity.

The Republican-led Senate Education Committee approved the measure Thursday.

The committee listened to both sides of the issue. Those who support the bill said transgender female athletes have an unfair advantage. Those who oppose the bill believe it’s discriminatory.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association currently allows transgender students to compete in sports. But the policy requires transgender athletes to undergo sex reassignment surgery in order to compete on a team aligned with their gender identity.

Republican Senator Robby Mills believes the policy puts non-transgender athletes at a disadvantage.

“It would be crushing for a young lady to train her whole career to have it end up competing against a biological male in the state tournament or state finals,” Sen. Mills said.

He’s sponsoring Senate Bill 83, which would prevent transgender female students from competing in female sports. Democrats criticized the bill, saying there have been no reported challenges to the existing KHSAA transgender policy.

12-year-old Fischer Wells sat before lawmakers saying the bill would keep her from playing field hockey and interacting with her friends.

“It’s disgusting that this bill is even suggested. It’s terrible. I’ve worked really hard and practiced so many hours. I hope you don’t vote on this bill and I hope I can play in 8th grade. Thank you,” Wells said.

In a 9-3 vote, the bill passed through committee. The bill will now head to the Senate floor for its first reading.

Copyright 2022 WKYT. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.