The ‘Fair Play’ Act
September 25th, 2020 / By: Bonnie Pritchett | TEXAN Correspondent / comments
Texas lawmakers could consider a bill next session that will halt the practice of allowing biological males who identify as female to compete on girls’ and women’s athletic teams in public schools and universities. If introduced, it is sure to face fierce opposition from Democrat legislators who advocate for transgender rights. But one Texas representative said it is simply a matter of fairness.
“This issue is one that is just amazing we even have to talk about,” State Representative Valoree Swanson, R – Spring, told attendees at the Texas Values Faith, Family, and Freedom Forum. “It’s truly a fairness factor.”
In a February, four female Connecticut high school athletes filed a lawsuit claiming they had lost opportunities to win track championships and college scholarships because, since 2017, two boys who identify as girls have been allowed by the state’s sports authorities to compete as girls. The two transgender athletes have racked up state titles and broken track records once held by female athletes.
In 2018 a Texas female high school wrestler who identified as male won her second straight state championship wrestling female athletes. The girl was taking testosterone as part of her so-called gender reassignment treatments. Competitors complained the transgender student’s increased testosterone levels gave her an unfair advantage and argued, unsuccessfully, she should have been disqualified.
In March, Idaho lawmakers passed, and Gov. Brad Little signed, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. The American Civil Liberties Union quickly filed a lawsuit challenging the law as “discriminatory” against transgender student athletes. A federal judge imposed an injunction on implementing the law until the suit works its way through court.
Texas Democrats, who have sponsored legislation establishing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights, oppose laws like the Fair Play Act. But there are dissenters Swanson said. Some feminists within the Democrat Party recognize the disadvantage female athletes have when forced to compete against biological males, she said.
“One of the things we’re going to have to do is turn this around on the Democrats,” Swanson said. “They’re split. It’s a women’s rights issue verses a transgender athlete’s issue. Well, they’re not going to know which side to get on.”
Proponents of the Fair Play legislation argue allowing biological males to compete against females violates Title IX of the Education Amendment. That amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act ensured women equal access to academic and athletic opportunities. But Title IX applications are being challenged by transgender activists pushing to change the meaning of “male” and “female” to affirm gender identity instead of biology.
A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Sept. 22 would amend Title IX to restore its original meaning and intent. Four U.S. senators, including Sen. James Lankford, R- OK, a former Southern Baptist youth pastor filed the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act that states “sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” If passed, schools that violate the law by allowing boys and men to compete in women’s sports could lose their federal funding.
“Permitting biological males to participate in women’s sports rejects the very spirit of Title IX, which was intended to create an equal playing field for women and girls,” Lankford said is a press release. “This bill upholds and reiterates congressional intent and promotes actual equality for women and girls in sports by respecting the dignity of biological female athletes across the nation.”