Red state lawmakers advance bill banning male athletes from competing in girls’ sports

Bryan Babb, DCNF

The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would require elementary through college level athletes to participate in sports based on their biological sex rather than gender identity.

An amended version of Senate Bill 44, titled the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” passed 72-21 in the House on Tuesday, where it was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Laurie Schlege. Republican state Sen. Beth Mizell first introduced Senate Bill 44, where it passed 29-6 in April 2022.

The bill would require “an athletic team or sporting event sponsored by an elementary, secondary, or postsecondary educational institution” to be designated for biological malesbiological females or a coeducational team consisting of both sexes. The bill also allows for legal action from biological females who are directly or indirectly harmed by violations of the proposed legislation.

The amended version of the bill will go back to the Louisiana Senate for another vote. If the amended bill passes in the Senate, it will go to Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards who will then either sign or veto the legislation.

Schlegel referenced University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas while arguing in favor of the bill, stating that Thomas’ NCAA victory in March was unfair, the Louisiana Illuminator reported.

Several similar bills have been passed amid a surge of concern regarding biological males participating in female sports. In Kentucky, Democratic lawmakers attempted to use a biologically male transgender girl’s lack of athletic skill to strike down legislation that would require students join sports team on the basis of biological sex.

Edwards vetoed a similar bill in July 2021 that would have banned biological males from women’s sports. Edwards stated at the time that the bill was “a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana.”

The bill will require 70 House votes to override a veto.

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