Bill To Ban Trans Athletes From Girls’ Sports Filed In Wyoming
A bill that would seek to ban people born as males from competing in girls K-12 sports has been filed in the Wyoming Legislature.
A similar bill was filed in 2022 but died in the Wyoming House after passing the Senate.
The bill passed the Senate on a 25-4 vote, but missed a deadline for introduction in the House. The 2023 bill is once again sponsored by Sen. Wendy Schuler [R-Uinta County]. This year's bill is titled 'Student Eligibility in Interscholastic Sports" and has been re-written from last year's ''Fairness In Women's Sports Act."
But the basic intent of Senate File 133 is the same. In the words of the legislation:
A student of the male sex shall not compete, and a public school shall not allow a student of the male sex to compete, with a team designated for students of the female sex in an interscholastic athletic activity.
But one difference between this year's bill and the 2022 legislation is that this year's bill would only apply to K-12 sports teams, not those at the collegiate level.
Gender is determined by the person's sex at birth, according to the legislation. So a trans athlete identifying as female would still be considered male for the purposes of the bill.
Senate File 133 would also create a state eligibility commission comprised of five members appointed by the governor to determine student eligibility for interscholastic sports. That was not included in last year's legislation.
Townsquare Media asked Sen. Schuler about the eligibility commission. She gave us this statement:
''If the bill gets litigated or enjoined, then the commission will be the back up plan and they will meet to decide whether or not there is compelling evidence that would convince them that a transgender athlete or someone who identifies as a female should be allowed to compete against biological females in our state in public school activities. The WHSAA rules just let the school where the trans athlete goes to school make that decision and that’s not a fair judgement to the other schools in the conference or the girls that they are competing against. This commission appointed by the Governor, will be a neutral party and there will be 5 people making that decision, not just the one A.D. or Principle to make the final decision.''
But Schuler said that outside of the exclusion of college sports and the eligibility commission provision, this year's bill is essentially the same as the 2022 proposal.
In floor debate on last year's bill, Schuler said that biological women and girls are being sidelined in women's sports by transgender athletes. She told the senate that people born as males maintain physical advantages over those born as women, including greater height and weight, stronger bones, larger muscles and several other advantages.
But the Wyoming ACLU took a different view of the legislation:
''it’s about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life,” said Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy director. “Extreme policies such as Senate File 51 are out of step with prevailing international and national norms of athletic competition. Inclusive teams that support all athletes and encourage participation should be the standard for all school sports.”
Former Wyoming walk-on Marcus Epps leaving his mark in the NFL