Va. Bill would ban trans athletes from sports that match their gender identity

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A Virginia lawmaker has proposed a bill that would bar transgender students in K-12 schools and colleges from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity.

The bill, passed Tuesday by Del. Karen Greenhalgh (R-Va. Beach) states that schools and universities must designate each of their association sports teams or sports as falling into one of three categories “based on biological sex”: male student teams, female student teams and mixed or mixed teams that include both male and female students. The bill also requires students to present their “biological sex” on a “sports eligibility form signed by a licensed physician, licensed nurse … or physician assistant” to apply for a school athletic team.

The proposed legislation, HB 1387, has a wide scope. It aims to influence sports at all levels of competition — including “interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club sport” teams in both the K-12 and collegiate fields. It also seeks to influence private schools by banning public schools from competing against private school teams unless the private schools agree to comply with the law and restrict students to sports teams that match their birth-assigned gender.

Greenhalgh did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

The Virginia bill comes amid a tsunami of education laws targeting transgender students. In the past three school years, lawmakers have passed 64 laws that change how students learn and what rights they have in school, according to a Washington Post analysis — and of those laws, 42 percent of those laws ban transgender students from playing on sports teams conform to their gender identity.

The bill also follows a recent move by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) administration to severely restrict the rights of transgender students. The Youngkin government proposed policies in September that would limit the rights of transgender students in schools, including requiring them to use school facilities and sports teams that match their birth-assigned sex. Those guidelines could come into effect this month.

Asked about Tuesday night’s bill, a Youngkin spokeswoman said that “the governor will review the legislation when it comes to his desk.” She did not answer questions about whether this was an administration-requested bill.

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