Opinion: Kansas Passes a Bill to Ban the Eligibility of Transgender Athletes

Kansas is one of the latest statement to ban transgender athletes from participating in sports activities.

Mia Musson, Staff Writer

 Kansas will ban the eligibility of transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sports from kindergarten through college starting July 1.

  The bill is discriminatory and unnecessary, as research has shown that the physical differences between cisgender and transgender females are not significant enough to justify separate competition, especially when separate competition is not required or enforced on the professional or Olympic level.

  Pushed through by Republican legislators over the wishes of the Kansas Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, this is the first of several possible new laws restricting the rights of transgender people.

  Kansas is just one of several states that have introduced or passed legislation banning transgender girls and women from competing on women’s sports teams.

  Conservative Republicans from the Sunflower state in 2021 and 2022 missed the two-thirds majority required in both legislative houses to overrule Kelly’s vetoes of the bill. This year, the House voted 84-40 to overturn her veto. The Senate voted 28-12, providing the required minimum of a two-thirds majority.

  Proponents of the bill argue that such measures are necessary to protect the integrity of women’s sports and ensure fairness for female athletes. Primary concerns are that transgender girls and women may have an unfair advantage due to their biological sex and physical attributes. It is essential that these proponents understand that being transgender and undergoing hormone replacement therapy does not confer an advantage. Hormone replacement therapy helps individuals’ transition, not make them naturally superhuman.

  Transgender athletes still have to put in the same amount of training, hours, and effort as their cisgender counterparts. To suggest otherwise is discriminatory and does not acknowledge the hard work and dedication that these athletes have and are willing to put into their sport. We should be celebrating the achievements of all athletes, regardless of their gender identity, and working towards a future where everyone is welcome and has the opportunity to compete. 

  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is moving in the right direction, promoting inclusivity, diversity and fairness; it is extremely unfortunate that individual states are taking a different approach.

  The IOC has yet to ban transgender athletes from the games. They have created a 10- principal framework for governing bodies of each sport to develop eligibility criteria. Children and young adults in the state of Kansas will not be given the chance to prove eligibility; they are simply banned.

  Allowing transgender athletes to participate on teams that align with their gender identity has to be good for their mental health, especially if they are kids, as it allows them to be a part of a team surrounded by their peers.

  The legality and enforceability of these bills remain contested, with the Biden Administration announcing that it will vigorously enforce protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Several lawsuits have been filed against the bans, alleging that they violate the constitutional rights of transgender athletes. 

  We should strive for inclusivity and respect for all individuals, regardless of how they identify their gender, and uphold the values of equality, fairness, and inclusion in all areas of life. 

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