Kentucky bill barring transgender girls from girls sports teams pulled from agenda

·3 min read

A bill barring transgender girls from playing on girls sports teams appeared to be moving in the Kentucky legislature, only to be cut from a committee agenda hours before it was scheduled to receive a vote.

Senate Bill 83, sponsored by Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson, was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

But on Thursday morning, legislative staffers sent a revised agenda without SB 83 on it.

Sen. Max Wise, the Senate Education Chairman, said Mills had requested to pull the bill from the agenda.

Similar measures have been filed in past sessions, but have not been heard in committee or received a vote.

Related: Here are the education bills to watch in the Kentucky legislature

Under the bill, schools would need to identify each sports team as either "boys," "girls" or "coed."

"An athletic activity or sport designated as 'girls' shall not be open to members of the male sex," the bill reads.

Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson
Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson

The bill, however, does not define "male sex," say what constitutes a member of the male sex or explain how a student will be determined to be a "member of the male sex."

All students would be allowed to play on teams labeled as "boys" or "coed," the bill says.

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The Kentucky Board of Education, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, school districts or schools would not be allowed to entertain a complaint, open an investigation or take any adverse action against schools for locking transgender girls out of girls' teams.

The bill would also allow students "deprived of an athletic opportunity" or who otherwise suffer because of a violation of the bill to sue the offending school district.

Mills' bill is dubbed the "Save Women's Sports Act." A similar measure with the same moniker is also filed in the House this year.

KHSAA allows transgender student-athletes to compete in sports "free from unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation."

But the existing KHSAA policy requires transgender athletes to undergo sex reassignment surgery in order to compete on the team aligned with their identity.

Background: Kentucky lawmaker wants student-athletes to compete in sports based on biological sex

Chris Hartman, executive director for the Fairness Campaign, previously said "few, if any" transgender students could meet the current KHSAA guidelines.

Calling SB 83 "a solution in search of a problem that does not exist," a spokesman for the ACLU of Kentucky said the bill violates the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act.

"Senate Bill 83 is rooted in bigotry and hate, and seeks only to erase trans people from participating in all aspects of life," Sam Crankshaw said. "Fear mongering to score cheap political points at the expense of Kentucky children is shameful."

Mills has sponsored similar bills in previous sessions.

The gender identities of athletes "is not an issue until your daughter is unfairly beaten by a biological male!" Mills tweeted at one of the bill's critics in 2020.

"I've been told of situations in KY last year and more will be coming," he continued.

Reporter Joe Sonka contributed to this story.

Reach Olivia Krauth at okrauth@courierjournal.com and on Twitter at @oliviakrauth.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky bill barring transgender girls from girls sports on hold

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