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Arizona House passes bill banning transgender students from girls’ sports

The Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would ban transgender students from competing in girls’ sports.

The bill, H.B. 2706, which applies to both public and private schools as well as community colleges and universities, requires teams in the state to be “expressly designated” for “males, men or boys;” “females, women or girls;” or “co-ed or mixed-sex.” Teams “designated for females, women or girls may not be open to students of the male sex,” under the proposal.

The bill, which passed in a party-line vote of 31-29, will now move to the GOP-controlled Senate.

Rep. Nancy Barto, who is sponsoring the measure, said the act will preserve fairness and dignity for young women in sports.

“It preserves a level playing field for girls and women, so they will continue to have available to them the equal opportunity Title IX promised them nearly 50-years ago,” she said.

The organisation Save Women’s Sports said: “This is just the beginning of a nationwide awakening to the realization that fairness in women’s sports needs to be preserved. 18 states have introduced bills regarding this issue and Idaho’s HB 500 passed the house and goes to the Senate on Friday morning. Passing it will set a powerful precedent.”

In February, the three high school athletes filed a federal lawsuit with the help of ADF in an effort to prevent biological males in Connecticut from competing in girls’ sporting events.

ADF argued that since Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference adopted the policy allowing males who identify as females to compete in girls’ athletic events, boys have consistently deprived female athletes of honors and opportunities to compete at elite levels.

According to The Hill, the Arizona Interscholastic Association also has policies for transgender students to compete in athletics and requires students to receive letters of support from parents, as well as a school admin and health professional. The student also has to receive support from a committee and the association’s executive board.

Save Women’s Sports shared a video of a young woman named Grace as she testified at the House Health and Human Services Committee hearing for H.B. 2706 in February. Grace recounted the deflating experience of competing against boys on the softball field.

“The boy gave them an edge, both physically and mentally that we could not match… It’s not right that years of hard work can be wasted; games, championships, and titles lost; and coveted spots on top teams gone, and the results known even before we take the field.”

The passing of the bill is being praised as another rare win for common sense.

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