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Ohio becomes latest state to propose transgender sports ban with Save Women’s Sports Act

Transgender girls would be banned from participating in female sports teams in high school or college in two bills introduced by Republican lawmakers in Ohio, which became the latest state to take up the contentious debate.

Posted: May 7, 2021 12:37 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Transgender girls would be banned from participating in female sports teams in high school or college in two bills introduced by Republican lawmakers in Ohio, which became the latest state to take up the contentious debate.

The proposals, titled the Save Women’s Sports Act, would require schools and higher education institutions in the state to designate “separate single-sex teams and sports for each sex.”

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“In most instances, when young women are forced to compete against young men in athletic competition, it places them at a fundamental disadvantage,” GOP Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus told members of the House education committee last week. “A disadvantage that threatens their athletic achievement and even collegiate scholarship prospects.”

The bills’ sponsors say it is an effort to maintain fairness and protect the integrity in women’s sports in Ohio, though none of the lawmakers have pointed to a single instance where this has been an issue in the state.

These proposals make Ohio the latest state to join the national debate over how transgender athletes can compete in high school and college sports, causing an outpouring of criticism from those in the transgender community and advocates.

If the bills passed, “trans people would lose opportunities and face higher risk factors, such as mental health struggles, substance dependency, and suicidal ideation,” Eliana Turan, the director of development for the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, told The Associated Press. “If we are going to talk about saving women and girls, let’s save all women and girls, trans females included.”

Idaho passed its law last year, and more than 20 states have considered such proposals this year. Bans have been enacted in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia. Florida lawmakers passed a bill, and South Dakota’s governor issued an executive order.

But while GOP lawmakers across the country take up the issue, in almost every case, sponsors of the proposals cannot cite a single instance in their own state or region where such participation has caused problems, according to an analysis by The Associated Press in March.

The same is true for the sponsors of the two bills in Ohio.

When asked during a committee hearing last week how many 12- and 13-year-old girls have had scholarships revoked due to being outperformed by transgender females, GOP Rep. Jena Powell, the other chief sponsor, mentioned a case specifically in Connecticut, but none in Ohio.

“Across the nation, there are girls who used to hold championships that are now held by biological males, which strips scholarship opportunities, medals, advancement in the sport,” said Powell, a Republican from western Ohio.

The organization in charge of making those determinations in the state, the Ohio High School Athletic Association, said that is not true in Ohio.

Since the fall of 2015, the association has ruled in 48 cases of transgender students applying to compete and there have been only 11 transgender female approvals.

“Those 11 approvals have resulted in no disruption of competition regarding competitive equity and they have not caused any loss in female participation, championships or scholarship opportunities,” Tim Stried, a spokesperson for the association, said in a statement. “The OHSAA is confident that our policy, which is based on medical science, is appropriate to address transgender requests and works for the benefit of all student-athletes and member schools.”

The OHSAA doesn’t track participation after approval, so it is unclear to say how many of those transgender students have gone on to compete.

Committee members last week also expressed concern for the mental health impacts that both sides of the issue may experience.

“There is so much more wound up in this particular bill than just physiological advantage,” Democratic Rep. Mary Lightbody said. “This bill will harm the mental health of some of Ohio’s most vulnerable children.”

The lawmakers supporting the passage of the proposal said that is not their intention. But advocates say regardless of intent, the proposals would have irreparable harm.

“(These bills) would hurt trans women and girls by invalidating their identities, normalize and promote transphobic bullying, and effectively prevent trans youth from partaking in the natural human right of athletic participation,” Turan said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 752108

Reported Deaths: 13816
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033831790
Lake558431013
Allen41736693
St. Joseph37007565
Hamilton36617417
Elkhart29425461
Tippecanoe22938228
Vanderburgh22565400
Porter19369327
Johnson18486389
Hendricks17696317
Clark13233195
Madison13176344
Vigo12631253
LaPorte12429221
Monroe12226176
Delaware10970198
Howard10349224
Kosciusko9643121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8174157
Warrick7864156
Floyd7815180
Grant7248179
Wayne7164201
Boone6979103
Morgan6768141
Dubois6224118
Marshall6214116
Cass6024110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502396
Lawrence4753122
Gibson445595
Clinton443555
Harrison441775
DeKalb440385
Montgomery439890
Whitley406744
Huntington403381
Steuben400859
Miami395769
Jasper389155
Knox377691
Putnam373461
Wabash362383
Ripley347370
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332753
Daviess3035100
Wells295481
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey274335
LaGrange273272
Scott270356
Clay267148
Washington246336
Randolph245183
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228159
Fountain222048
Sullivan214843
Owen212358
Fulton204043
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175344
Franklin170435
Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120847
Newton114936
Brown104443
Benton102614
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84115
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0424

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109697

Reported Deaths: 20213
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1289521469
Cuyahoga1158802216
Hamilton814201251
Montgomery525861049
Summit484551006
Lucas43384824
Butler39098606
Stark33355930
Lorain25689506
Warren24612305
Mahoning22388602
Lake21219389
Clermont20138253
Delaware18892136
Licking16671225
Fairfield16589204
Trumbull16560483
Medina15618273
Greene15292248
Clark14244306
Wood13296200
Portage13254216
Allen11919239
Richland11611211
Miami10857225
Wayne9153225
Columbiana9039230
Muskingum8909135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8654251
Marion8649139
Erie8058165
Ashtabula7171179
Hancock6999133
Ross6948163
Geauga6850151
Scioto6540106
Belmont6159174
Union585049
Lawrence5741102
Jefferson5683159
Huron5554122
Sandusky5444126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5321109
Athens524460
Auglaize502487
Mercer487785
Shelby477095
Knox4573112
Madison444566
Ashland435997
Putnam4336104
Defiance432399
Fulton432274
Crawford4046110
Brown402761
Logan387678
Preble3859105
Clinton379266
Ottawa373581
Highland360266
Williams348578
Champaign344959
Guernsey325254
Jackson318454
Perry297350
Morrow291940
Fayette285750
Hardin275765
Henry273867
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269360
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220663
Carroll197548
Paulding176642
Meigs148540
Monroe136345
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan110124
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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Daily rounds of showers and thunderstorms will increase the flood threat across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.
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