Controversy surrounds new sports and trans youth bill in Pennsylvania

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On Monday, a number of Republican State House members introduced a bill that would change the rules for transgender student-athletes across Pennsylvania, and there’s already a lot of controversy about the bill.

It’s called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. It would essentially ban transgender youth from playing school sports according to their gender identity, so children raised as boys would have to play on boys’ teams. Those behind the bill say it’s a necessary response to an executive order from President Biden, but opponents say it’s something much worse.

“We think that this order violates Title IX and reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women. Title IX was designed to stop discrimination and create equal athletic opportunities for women,” Rep. Barb Gleim, (R-Cumberland) said.

So Rep. Gleim introduced the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act on Monday.

“When a biological male competes on a girls’ team, a biological female loses something. It could be playing time, a championship, or even a scholarship,” Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) said.

Supporters of the bill say transgender children who were raised as boys have a physical advantage, but others say it’s anything but fair, and even said so during the press conference.

“I think you’re going to create a problem because you haven’t really thought this through,” said Alex Myers, personal assistant for Rep. Nancy Guenst.

“I’m a transgender male and I also was a foster parent. I can’t imagine one of my kids going through this,” Myers said.

According to the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, this bill would send a devastating message to trans children.

“We know that participating in sports helps develop communication skills, teamwork, confidence, problem-solving as well as building memories and friendships and it’s unacceptable for trans kids, in particular, to be turned away from the opportunities we want everyone to have,” said Preston Heldibridle, state policy associate for the Pennsylvania Youth Congress.

Governor Tom Wolf’s office told us that if the legislature were to pass this bill, he would veto it, adding that trans youth should know that they belong and that their participation in school activities is welcomed.

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