By Corinne Murdock |
A Senate bill banning males from female sports teams advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, passing along party lines. The legislation would apply to both private and public K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.
The legislation prohibits political groups, licensing organizations, and athletic associations from investigating or taking action against schools for adhering to the bill provisions. Conversely, a school would bear civil liability for any deprivation of athletic opportunity, or causing direct or indirect harm by ignoring the legislation. Students would be entitled to take a private cause of action and could earn damages and relief.
The bill sponsor, State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), said that the bill was based on scientific fact to ensure that girls have a “fair, level playing field.” Barto said that the threat of biological males identifying as females undermined Title IX.
Barto cited data from Save Women’s Sports, a coalition to prevent males from competing in female sports, documenting the males competing in female sports. Barto also cited the case of Lia Thomas, the transgender woman on the Penn State University women’s swim team.
“I’ve had my childhood ripped away from me by legislators for seven years and I’m sick of fighting for human rights, but I won’t stop until I know that me and all my transgender friends are safe,” said Morrison. “These anti-trans sports bills are unscientific and cause a real mental health issue for the people they would affect.”
Morrison claimed that testosterone doesn’t give biological males an athletic edge, and that females could still win in competition against their male peers.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association revealed that they have received 16 appeals for transgender athletes and only denied one.
Minority Whip Domingo DeGrazia (D-Tucson) claimed that the bill solved something that wasn’t an issue.
“If a youth loses an opportunity for something either to be in competition or that they lose a competition or that they don’t get a sponsorship or that they don’t get to be an influencer of TikTok; if that’s their indirect harm, how do you attribute that to sports to an opposing player?” asked DeGrazia.
After the committee approved the bill, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman claimed that the bill would harm all student athletes — even those females whose opportunities and possibly safety that the bill promised to protect.