A bill that would protect biological female student athletes from having to compete against those born as males passed a crucial hurdle in the Mississippi Legislature.
Senate Bill 2536, which was sponsored by state Sen. Angela Hill, R-Picayune and known as the Mississippi Fairness Act, would require any public school, university or community college team to be either designated for those of one biological sex with the exception for co-ed teams.
It passed the Senate on February 10 and was approved by the House Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency Committee on Monday. The deadline is Tuesday for bills from the other chamber to be reported by committees.
This bill is the third attempt by Hill to get legislation passed for Mississippi, which is one of 10 states without a policy of this type.
The bill is opposed by the gay rights organization the Human Rights Campaign, which says passage of the bill will open transgender youth to bullying and increased danger from discrimination and violence.
A recent Mason Dixon poll shows that 79 percent of Mississippi voters support a policy like SB 2536, with 87 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of independents and 65 percent of Democrats.
“Allowing males to compete in girls-only sports reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women,” Hill said. “Allowing biological males to compete in girl-only sports destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities. Girls should not be spectators in their own sports.
“Doing nothing will result in the end of female sports as we have known it for years.”
President Joe Biden issued an executive order on January 20, that expands prohibited forms of sex discrimination under Title IX to include discrimination for gender identity and sexual orientation.
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funds.
Carrie Lukas, the president of the freedom-oriented Independent Women’s Forum, said on a conference call passing laws that protect women isn’t just about preserving the integrity of competition, but also a safety issue as well.
“It not only puts them at a disadvantage in their ability to succeed and win competitions, but it's also a very real safety concern,” Lukas said. “And the realm of athletics, biological sex, sex differences matter. Without separate teams for biological women and men, men will dominate women in competitive sports where strength size or speed are relevant factors.
“That's because physiologically, the average male is stronger bigger and faster than the average female. And as we've seen in contact sports like fighting and boxing where biological women are forced to compete against biological men, it can lead to serious injury.”
Federal legislation similar to Hill’s bill has already introduced by U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, on February 5. The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who is one of 13 co-sponsors.
“Allowing biological males to take the place of women on sports teams would end up diminishing nearly 50 years of significant progress on women’s sports in America,” Lee said on the conference call. “And this really happens in a way that it will necessarily be limiting opportunities for female athletes to compete and to succeed on an amateur stage and on a professional stage as well.
“And make no mistake — the efforts that some people are making in this area are really nothing short of an all-out assault that seeks to end women’s sports.”
This story was updated to reflect that the House, Efficiency, Accountability Committee approved the bill and sent it to the House floor for a vote.