Missouri GOP renews push to limit transgender athletes’ participation in school sports

For the 2023 Missouri Legislature, more bills related to transgender athletes were filed than transgender athletes are currently competing in public schools according to their identity.

Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate have jointly introduced 10 bills aimed at restricting the ability of transgender minors to play in youth sports.

In the 2021-2022 school year, just five transgender students applied to the Missouri State High School Athletics Association (MSHSAA) to compete based on their gender identity.

Democrats and LGBTQ advocates say the spate of bills is a discriminatory attack on an already marginalized community, motivated by partisan politics. GOP lawmakers driving the bills, many of which are titled Protect Women’s Sports Act, say they are inspired by real concerns in their communities about fairness.

It’s a debate that played out repeatedly during the 2022 session, as Republicans proposed — and Democrats stalled — numerous bills targeting transgender youth. Eventually, Dysfunction in the Senate lost their chances.

Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove and one of the legislation’s most outspoken supporters, says he’s optimistic things will be different in 2023.

He points up Gov. Mike Parson’s support for his bill after the legislature adjourned in May.

“After the close of the session, the governor’s office expressed support for the law,” Moon said. “And whether that was the trigger or not, I don’t know. But this year several [lmakers] submitted it and maybe that will generate enough support for it to go through.”

Meanwhile, opponents prepare for battle.

“High school is hard enough. And it’s hard enough to adjust for students who already feel some kind of uniqueness or have a reason they need to work a little harder to blend in with their peers,” said Shira Berkowitz, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at PROMO, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group.

“They face higher rates of bullying. They are sometimes subjected to harassment and abuse, and the fact that they could be banned from sport is already devastating in a vulnerable population,” Berkowitz said.

Patrick Sasser testified before a House committee in March hoping his 11-year-old daughter could compete in sports according to her gender identity.

She has been denied access to some all-girls teams because she competes in multiple sports, he told The Independent in an interview. But her current teammates hail her as just another athlete who’s there to kick the ball and hopefully score a few points, he said.

But his daughter’s transition hasn’t been without tears.

“The things that my 11 year old has experienced in life, no child should have to experience a lot of those things and feel uncomfortable in their own body and have doubts or fears or anything like that. No kid should have to go through that,” he said. “The idea that someone would do that to dominate a sport is just insane to me.”

‘A good start’

The MSHSAA’s application process for transgender athletes has been in effect since 2012 and is more restrictive for transgender women who wish to compete on girls’ teams.

They can only compete according to their gender identity if they have been on hormone-suppressing medication for a year and must show they are continuing their treatment to remain eligible. Since MSHSAA began this process in 2012, 12 students have applied and been approved, said Jason West, MSHSAA communications director.

State Senator Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg and sponsor of one version of the Save Women’s Sports Act bill, said he was unaware of the MSHSAA’s regulations.

After being briefed on the current rules for Missouri’s high school athletes, he called the process a “good start,” but said that to have any real impact, any policy must be incorporated into state law.

“We can do more and put something in a state statute,” Hoskins said.

Eighteen states have banned transgender students from competing based on their gender identity since March 2020.

according to a Pew Research survey58% of Americans said they “support” or “strongly support” policies that limit transgender athletes’ participation to the gender assigned to them at birth.

“I’ve been contacted by parents who have daughters… They’ve worked hard to develop the skills they’ve learned and also get the scholarships they want. And they believe that with a [biological] Men competing against them in competitive sports is unfair,” Moon said.

He said none of those families recounted a time when their daughter competed against a transgender athlete.

Sasser believes that GOP laws “tap into people’s fears and prejudices.” “As a result, lawmakers feel compelled to take a stand on something that I don’t think is an issue,” he said.

Rep. Ian Mackey, D-Richmond Heights, believes opponents will be able to defeat the bill this year.

“There’s always going to be something more pressing…something that actually needs our attention, which I hope will get in our way, and which will prompt us to do the jobs we were sent there to do,” Mackey said. “that is, bring resources back to our districts, improve the livelihoods of our families and our communities, provide health care and education for Missourians.

He believes that most people involved in anti-trans legislation “don’t understand what it means to be transgender.”

Emotionally draining

Berkowitz said the anti-trans legislation is emotionally damaging.

“The damage that these types of messages and bills are doing to our schools and to our classrooms and to the physical activities that our children participate in is causing significant harm,” Berkowitz said.

The mental toll is causing transgender athletes to drop out of sports they would otherwise enjoy, Berkowitz said.

It is emotionally draining for Sasser and his family, who have repeatedly testified against this law.

“It’s a really tough fight and a really tough thing to feel like I’m constantly defending the identity of my own child — and the identity of other trans people in the state and across the country.”

Hoskins and Moon acknowledged that their legislation could have a negative impact on the mental health of trans athletes.

“We want to be aware of all the mental health issues faced by youth,” Hoskins said, “whether they’re transgender or not.”

The 10 bills, filed through mid-December, provide for various financial penalties for schools that allow transgender athletes to compete on the opposite team from their birth-assigned gender. Both the Hoskins and Moon bills take away all funds directed by the legislature until a school complies with their rules.

Missouri independent is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Missouri Independent maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jason Hancock with any questions: info@missouriindependent.com. Follow Missouri Independent on Facebook and Twitter.

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/missouri-gop-renews-push-to-limit-transgender-athlete-participation-in-school-sports/ Missouri GOP renews push to limit transgender athletes’ participation in school sports

Sarah Y. Kim

InternetCloning is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@internetcloning.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button