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‘Not Moving Backwards’: More Red States Join Push To Bar Men From Competing In Women’s Sports

  • States such as Kansas, Texas, Ohio and Nebraska are prioritizing legislation to prohibit men from competing in women’s. 
  • The legislation extends to K-12 school districts as well as college athletics, prohibiting students from joining sports teams on the basis of gender identity, rather than biological sex.  
  • “It’s ensuring that the athletes that are competing are on the same level playing field with other athletes of the same sex,” Jessica Anderson, Heritage Action executive director, told the Daily Caller News Foundation

Several red states are joining the push to bar men from competing on the same sports team as women in both K-12 school districts and college athletics.

KansasTexasOhio and Nebraska are focused on passing legislation to mandate that sports teams are divided on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity. The legislation gaining momentum through the states is a part of a broader battle in school districts throughout the country over the division of students on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex.

“It’s ensuring that the athletes that are competing are on the same level playing field with other athletes of the same sex,” Jessica Anderson, Heritage Action executive director, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s safety for sure when you look at locker rooms and restrooms and kind of the privacy issue, but also scholarships and how to use a even playing field both ways so that you have athletes that are competing against others in the same sex and being eligible for scholarship dollars, especially when you look at their desires for college and collegiate sports. That’s a big deal.”

In a 82-40 vote, gaining veto-proof majority, on Wednesday the Kansas House of Representatives approved legislation which would mandate that only biological women compete in women’s sports. The bill would apply to both K-12 school districts within the state as well as public higher education institutions.

“The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is meant to protect Title IX’s intention and ensure fair play in sports for our daughters and granddaughters,” Republican Kansas Rep. Barb Wasinger, the sponsor of the legislation, told the DCNF. “Title IX was designed to stop discrimination and create equal athletic opportunities for women. This bill ensures we’re not moving backwards on 50 years of advances for female athletes.”

In 2022, the Texas legislature approved a law which prohibits K-12 students from participating in sports on the basis of gender identity, requiring that students compete on the basis of biological sex. The legislature is currently considering a bill that would bar college athletes from participating in sports on the basis of gender identity.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to push for the bill and sign it into law next legislative session, the New York Post reported. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick named the legislation one of his top priorities in 2023 because the bill “largely reflect the policies supported by the conservative majority of Texans,” according to CBS News.

“Across the United States, we are seeing radical left gender ideology subjecting female athletes to unfair competition and increased physical danger by allowing biological males to compete against them and use their private facilities,” Republican Texas Rep. Valoree Swanson, who introduced the bill, told the DCNF. “I passed the ‘Save Girls’ Sports Act’ in 2021 to protect 7-12th grade girls, and I believe the hour is critical to extend those same protections to our college athletes.”

As a part of his priorities, Ohio Republican House Speaker Jason Stephen plans to introduce a bill to prohibit high school athletes from competing on the basis of biological sex, News 5 Cleveland reported. The bill is an effort to “protect the integrity of girls’ sports and make certain that biological males cannot compete in female-only athletics.”

In Nebraska, the “Sports and Spaces Act” introduced by Republican Sen. Kathleen Kauth, would prohibit students from joining high school sports teams on the basis of their gender identity. The introduced bill would also prohibit the use of bathrooms and locker rooms on the basis of biological sex.

“It is critically important to enact this into law to uphold the dignity and privacy of all students in places where they are physically vulnerable (bath rooms and locker rooms) and to maintain the competitiveness and fairness of women’s athletics,” Kauth told the DCNF.

Because sports teams from different states with contrasting legislation can compete against one another, the United States Congress is moving to enact a bill which would prohibit athletes from competing on the basis of biological sex, Anderson told the DCNF. Anderson expects to see legislation, which would divide sports on the basis of biological sex, introduced to the U.S. Senate in the beginning of March.

“Congress is so interested in passing his own federal bill because that then would allow states to compete against different states and have kind of a federal umbrella over how to handle the issue. Right now state versus state competition, there’s no law in the books that allows one states’ bill to supersede another state. So until Congress takes action, which I believe that they will, [Republican Rep. Greg Steube] has already introduced it in the house and we’re hearing that the Senate could introduce it actually as soon as this week.”

Abbott and Stephen did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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