HB61: Law to Ban Transgender Athletes Framed as “Save Women’s Sports Act”
HB61 will place a complete ban on transgender athletes participating in high school and college sports. This bill is one of the most extreme political attacks on transgender people in recent memory. Not only does it display a fundamental ignorance about transgender people and their participation in sports, it also attacks the Ohio High School Athletic Association and the NCAA in their ability to make policies that they deem are best for athletes.
The bottom line is this: HB61 seeks to single out transgender young people for increased bullying and harassment by preventing them from participating in the sports they love.
Participation in sports is an invaluable part of students’ physical, social, and emotional well-
being. Playing sports can provide student athletes with important lessons about leadership, self discipline, teamwork, success, and failure—as well as the joy and shared excitement of being part of a team.
Institutions and associations like the NCAA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and high school athletic associations already have policies in place that address this issue. They allow transgender athletes to participate and ensure that men can’t enter women’s events. In fact, the passage of these bills may cause the NCAA to ban all championship games being held in the state, with a resulting loss of considerable income to the state. The NCAA pulled seven championship games that had been planned in North Carolina while the state’s anti-transgender bathroom ban law was in effect, where total losses exceeded were projected to be $3.76 billion.
What Can You Do?
We must stop this bill in its tracks before it gets any momentum. To do that, we need you to:
- Call House Education Committee Chair Gayle Manning, and tell her to stop HB61.
- Email the members of the House Education Committee, and tell them to oppose HB61.
- If you are a transgender athlete or ally, you can share your story here.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper explaining just how harmful this bill is and why your elected officials should oppose it.
What Happens Next?
- Hearing for sponsor testimony. This hearing is required by law and provides the bill sponsors, Rep. Jena Powell and Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus a chance to introduce the bill to the committee. It is our hope and expectation that this will be the only hearing this bill will receive.
- Hearings for proponent testimony. If proponent testimony is scheduled, then the committee will hear from people who support the ban on medical care for transgender youth. This is a normal part of the legislative process.
- Hearings for opposition testimony. If opposition testimony is given, people who support allowing transgender athletes to participate in sports will have designated time to argue against the bill. If you have a personal story that you would be willing to share or can speak to this issue professionally, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Committee Passage. If the bill is voted out of committee, then it can be considered for a floor vote by the entire Ohio House.
- If it is voted out of the Ohio House, then the process repeats in the Ohio Senate.