Arizona House of Representatives Passes Bill Banning Trans Athletes From Youth Sports

The Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill that bans the participation of transgender athletes from girl’s sports on Tuesday.

HB 2706 was passed on a party line by the Republican-controlled state house, 31-29. It will face approval from the Arizona State Senate before heading to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk.

The law is similar to bills proposed in other state legislatures, although should it be ratified, Arizona would be the first state to enact such a ban. A movement to ban trans athletes from girls’ sports was spurred by a petition created by Connecticut track runner Selina Soule, who filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education after her experiences competing against biologically male athletes.

It’s being brought up amidst concerns surrounding transgender girls participating in youth and girls’ sports, often possessing an inherent advantage due to their natural male biology.

Phoenix’s Rep. Nancy Barto cited examples of trans athletes dominating in women’s sports in other states as a rationale for introducing the legislation. The law requires youth sports leagues to designate their format as co-educational or reserved for students of one sex.

Those who are not of the biological sex the sports league is designated as are barred from competition. In case of dispute, prospective athletes will have the option of submitting a genetic test verifying their biological sex.

Democrats reliably opposed the bill, disregarding the potential institutional damage the challenge of trans athletes pose to the very prospect of women’s sports. A controversial element that required athletes whose participation is in dispute to submit to a gender verification from a doctor was purged from the bill.

Should the bill pass the Arizona Senate, it looks likely that girls’ sports in the state will be preserved as institutions reserved exclusively for the female sex.

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