A committee of the Utah state House of Representatives advanced a bill on Thursday to ban biological boys from competing on female sports teams in the state’s public and private K-12 schools.
HB302, titled the Preserving Sports for Female Students bill, passed on an 8-6 vote and was introduced by state Rep. Kera Birkeland, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. If passed, it would require all schools to delineate whether sports are “male,” “female,” or “coed.
The bill, which defines sex as the “biological, physical condition of being male or female, determined by an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth,” would forbid biological males from competing in female sports, regardless of their gender identity. The bill will subsequently move to a full House vote.
“Across America, there are stories of individuals who identified as male at birth competing against our female athletes,” Birkeland argued, who is also a junior varsity high school basketball coach. “These individuals who identify as male at birth are breaking records that no female will be able to reach. They’re taking championships, titles, and scholarships from our female athletes. To say it’s taking a toll on our female athletes would be an understatement.”
The bill also met with pushback, such as from pediatrician and public health advocated Jennifer Plumb, who said, “We hear that there is not one transgender athlete playing right now in our state schools. I’ll tell you what we have had: between 2017 and 2019, we had 414 young Utahns kill themselves. We need to think about what we’re doing here when we put bills in place that already take a vulnerable population and say they do not matter. Please support our kids. This is a problem that does not exist.”