GOP passes bill aiming to root out ‘suspected’ transgender female athletes with genital inspection

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6/3/22

House Republican lawmakers in Ohio passed a bill at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday night that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in high school and college athletics. It also comes with a “verification process” of checking the genitals of those “accused” of being trans. The ‘Save Women’s Sports Act,’ or House Bill 61, wasn’t supposed to be on the schedule for legislators originally. However, at the last minute, Republican representatives added the language to a completely different bill. H.B. 151 would revise Ohio’s Teacher Residency Program, trying to reduce state control in schools. The bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Don Jones, from Freeport, got a surprise addition. News 5’s Statehouse reporter Morgan Trau tried to get the substitute bill numerous times during the session, but Democrats told her they didn’t have it and had also been looking for it. Some Republicans said the same, some didn’t respond. It was finally sent to her the next afternoon, while still not being posted online for the public to read as of 8 p.m. EST. “Having this third bill now slipped into an unrelated bill at the last moment is just such an additional slap in the face to our entire community,” Maria Bruno, legislative policy director for Equality Ohio, said. “I know that there are a lot of folks in the LGBTQ community who are sitting there asking themselves, ‘What did I do to them? because they keep coming after me’ and I can’t blame them for having that perspective. “But the answer is nothing, just existing.” Sub H.B. 151 would require schools, state universities and private colleges to designate separate “single-sex” teams and sports for “each sex.” “Across our country, female athletes are currently losing championships, scholarship opportunities, medals, education and training opportunities and more to discriminatory policies that allow biological males to compete in girls sports,” H.B. 61 bill sponsor Republican state Rep. Jena Powell, from Arcanum, said while proposing the amendment adding her bill into H.B. 151. There is only one transgender girl in the state that is currently participating in high school athletics, according to Equality Ohio and the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OSHAA).

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