KHSAA, Fairness Campaign weigh in on transgender athletes bill

The Kentucky Senate passed a bill on Wednesday, February 16, to stop transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams. That followed a “Let Kids Play”...
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 9:38 PM CST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Senate passed a bill on Wednesday, February 16, to stop transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams. That followed a “Let Kids Play” rally in the Capitol rotunda.

There are several moving pieces with this legislation. We spoke to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Julian Tackett. Tackett said he’s in favor of the state making a decision on this and said he believes it protects women athletes.

“What we’re being told it’s prevention. We’ve seen it happen other places and we don’t want to see it happen here. That’s what they as policy makers have to sort through,” said Tackett.

Not everyone agrees. We also spoke with the Fairness Campaign Executive Director Chris Hartman who said he believes a law like this actually violates Title IX.

“This is a very well orchestrated, coordinated, national attack on trans kids. Not just in Kentucky, but all across the United States,” Hartman said.

The KHSAA currently allows transgender student athletes to compete on the team aligning with their identity, if they’ve had sex reassignment surgery.

Commissioner Tackett said state legislators have decided step in.

“You know, our state didn’t exactly get on the Title IX bandwagon real strong when it first passed. There are some who would argue that we’re still making up for lost time as it relates to female opportunities. So I think you can argue it either way. The other parts of this bill really are matters better solved by the public policy makers,” said Tackett.

However, those on the other side, like Hartman, said, if passed, he believes a law like this actually violates Title IX.

“Federal court judges all across the United States have been consistently ruling in favor of transgender students and their inclusion in all aspects of school life under Title IX, and this includes sports. Two federal judges have already stayed similar laws in Idaho and West Virginia,” Hartman said.

Tackett said this is a matter that should be handled by state legislators as a part of public policy.

However, Hartman said he believes experts in each individual sport, along with medical experts, and the school districts should handle the topic.

It’s important to note that lawmakers have amended bills in both the senate and the house to apply the change to middle and high school athletes.

Some lawmakers discussed extending it to collegiate athletes as well, but we’ve not seen that language in an amendment or bill.

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