Bill banning transgender athletes from playing in women's sports passes Idaho Senate

click to enlarge VICTOR FREITAS PHOTO
Victor Freitas photo

A bill that would ban transgender girls and women from playing sports that align with their gender identity has passed the Idaho Senate.

The bill doesn't apply to transgender boys or men. Instead, it prohibits transgender girls and women from joining women's sports teams at K-12 schools, public colleges and universities in Idaho.

The House had already approved a version of the bill that required a pelvic exam and other ways to prove their gender if someone challenged it. The Senate amended the bill to say that when gender is in dispute, it should be resolved by a student going through a health examination to look at their reproductive anatomy. As of press time the House would have needed to approve the amendment before it was sent to the governor's desk.

If approved, this would be the first of its kind to pass any state legislature in the country.

The Idaho Human Rights Campaign says the bill "invades the privacy of Idaho's youth." Alphonso David, president of the HRC, says in a statement that the law is "retrogressive, invasive and patently anti-transgender."

"These elected officials and the groups backing them are proposing a solution in search of a problem — and using transgender kids as pawns to stoke division at a time when our elected leaders should be finding ways to unite us," he says.

Currently, Idaho schools can compete as long as they've been on testosterone-blocking drugs for at least one year. The Idaho Attorney General's Office has said that such a bill could be "constitutionally problematic" and lead to a court battle.

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Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione, born and raised in Spokane, is an Inlander staff writer covering education and social services in the Inland Northwest.