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Ohio transgender sports ban bill sparks controversy, Democrats pushing to stop it

Published By ABC 6 on June 10, 2021
Jena Powell In The News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — State and city Democrats are now speaking out against legislation they feel discriminates against the trans community.

"Instead of finding solutions to real problems, Ohio Republicans are punishing trans-youth who want to play sports,” City Council President Shannon Hardin said. "We have to protect our young people, we have to protect children and these bills that are making their way through the Ohio legislature are attacking kids. They're attacking children."

Hardin, Senate Assistant Minority Leader Nickie J. Antonio and members with advocacy groups said legislation like House Bill 61 or the "Save Women's Sports Act" needs to be stopped. The proposed bill says transgender girls would be banned from competing on female sports teams at the high school and college level.

If the bill were to pass, athletes would have to play on boys’ teams, even if they identify as female and have medically transitioned.

"At the end of the day, this bill is a fairness bill, fairness for everyone in the state,” Rep. Jena Powell said.

Powell, a sponsor of the bill, said the bill is to protect female athletes in Ohio.

"What we're specifically saying in this bill is, there is a biological difference between males and female at the time of birth that gives biological males a physical advantage over females in athletics," she said.

Currently, the Ohio High School Athletic Association already has policies in place for trans athletes. Since 2015, only 11 trans athletes have had approval to compete out of the 48 who have applied.

"There are current rules under the OHSAA that are in place but the same rules that are in place in Ohio are the same rules in states like Connecticut that have biological males ending up on the gold podium over females,” Powell said.

For now, those against the bill said they plan to continue to fight against it.

"We have to ready ourselves for the fights ahead,” Hardin said.

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