COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
On Tuesday, Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) along with 40 of her House Republican colleagues led a call for the Department of Education to protect women’s sports.
At the same time, on Monday, the Missouri House Committee on General Laws approved House Bill 2734 which would ban trans women athletes from competing in women’s sports postseason or playoff games.
Schools that ban trans women athletes would be protected under the bill from any complaint or investigation by a governmental, scholastic or athletic authority.
At the same time, Hartzler says there is a role to ban trans athletes at the congressional level because in 1972, Congress passed Title IX to empower women to give them equal opportunity and education and that included not only academics and scholarships but also the chance to participate in achieve and women’s sports.
“Any school that receives federal dollars is under Title IX and there is legislation that I’ve co-sponsored that says, if you receive those funds, you have to keep women’s sports for women in order to do that because that is the intent of the law,” Hartzler said.
Katherine Sasser, Columbia Board of Education member and mother of a transgender girl says she doesn’t want to see the opportunity to play team sports be off the table for her daughter.
“Team sports are a place where kids get to learn a lot of really important skills where they get to learn leadership and teamwork and build confidence. I know that I’ve seen my own daughter grow in competence and connection in the team sports that she’s played in her life,” Sasser said.
As a former athlete, Hartzler believes it is not fair for people that were born genetically male to participate against those who were born genetically female.
“Especially at the collegiate level, biological males have greater muscle mass, they have greater height, lung capacity, all of those advantages that are going to give them a better opportunity to win and to beat females,” Hartzler says.
Tom Bastian with The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri says the anti-trans bills single out individuals for the purpose of exclusion. “In addition to the harm it would inflict on children, these bills will waste Missouri taxpayer money through a lengthy litigation process because of violations to both Title IX and the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
Sasser says that Missouri already has solutions to ensuring that biological differences will not give trans athletes an advantage.
The Missouri High School Activities Association has already put regulations in place in the past regarding trans athletes.
The 2021 handbook states that “transgender women athletes can compete on women’s teams after one year of hormone treatment and under the condition that they continue to receive treatment.”
“Part of that process includes a long process, including medical recommendations and hormone blockers to be able to be ready to play. Our legislators who are not scientists, are trying to create problems where there aren’t any, we already have solutions in Missouri,” Sasser said.
The bill will now move to the full house. If passed, it would apply to youth sports as well as high school and collegiate sports. At this time, a hearing date has not been set.