Wisc. legislators poised to ban trans athletes at Univ. of Wisconsin, public and charter schools

Thu. March 4, 2021 8:00 AM by Gerald Farinas

Madison, Wis. - Wisconsin Republicans are poised to ban transgender students from participating in school athletics matching their gender identities. Legislators have prepared two bills that argue girls are at a biological disadvantage when competing against male-to-female transgender persons—an argument debunked by various studies.

The ban would cover sports not classified as co-ed in public elementary, middle, intermediate, high school, and college athletics, even in the University of Wisconsin system. It would cover sports in independent charter schools, as well.

Author of the legislation, Wisconsin state Rep. Barb Dittrich claims that banning transgender athletes will even the playing field and uphold the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act—popularly known as Title IX. The federal law prohibits discrimination in school programs based on sex.

Dittrich said in a press conference, “Biological females are losing opportunities at titles, records, scholarships and even participation at times.”

Olympian Bonnie Blair Cruickshank appeared in a video at the presser to promote the discriminatory legislation.

“Athletes should not have to compete in an unfair environment and women's sports should be protected,” the speedskater said.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers intends to veto any transgender bans that come out of the Republican-led legislature.

To which Dittrich argued Evers would be “sexist” to oppose them.

The former teacher-turned-governor has been battling with Republicans for almost all his COVID-19 policies, and now is set to take on Evers and his progressive administration over transgender rights.

Any laws passed that would ban transgender athletes would verily end up in court—as it would go against preceding U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Transgender advocates charge that Republicans are twisting the meaning of Title IX to discriminate against transgender children—who should also be afforded protection under Title IX.

Chris Ott, executive director of Wisconsin ACLU said, “Transgender students participate in sports for the same reasons that other young people do: to challenge themselves, improve their fitness, and be part of a team. Excluding trans students from participating in sports teams consistent with their authentic gender identity is unfair and discriminatory.”

He continued, “The intent of these bills is not to protect students in sports, but to alienate trans students and discriminate against them based on their identity.”

Ott also took on the argument of biological disparities.

“We simply have not seen any dominance by trans athletes at any level of competition. Athletic success is based on many disparate factors that vary sport to sport, and being transgender does not give girls who are trans an inherent advantage over girls who are not,” he said.

The Human Rights Campaign's legislative director Cathryn Oakley said, “The only thing these bills do is harm kids who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence. These groups are working together to manufacture fear about trans folks participating in sports in the same way that they manufactured fear about bathroom access and marriage equality before that.”

In the scientific journal Sports Medicine, a study published in 2016 cites the absence of evidence of an uneven playing field when girls play against transgender females.

“Currently, there is no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals (or male individuals) have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition (e.g. cross-sex hormones, gender-confirming surgery) and, therefore, competitive sport policies that place restrictions on transgender people need to be considered and potentially revised,” the study by Nottingham Centre for Gender Dysphoria, Loughborough University, and University of Nottingham found.

Related: Trump: Biden policies would force women 'to compete against biological males'