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The House Education Committee advanced a bill by Sen. Beth Mizell to prevent transgender females from participating in girls’ sports

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Sen. Beth Mizell (Courtesy Photo)

By Margaret DeLaney
LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE–The House Committee on Education voted 7-1 Wednesday to advance a
bill to prevent transgender females from participating in girls’ sports.

The bill has already passed the Senate and will now proceed to the House floor.

Senate Bill 44, called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, states that “teams designated
for females are not open to participation by biological males.”

The bill requires that biological sex be determined by the student-athlete’s official birth
certificate. The biological sex would then determine whether the athlete participate on a male
or female sports team.

“We’ve had a poll done in the state of Louisiana that shows over 80% of Louisianans
support protecting women’s sports for biological females,” Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, said.

All intercollegiate, interscholastic and intramural teams in any school receiving state
funding would be subject to these rules.

Anne Metz, a retired collegiate athlete and a player in the Women’s Premier Soccer
League, was blindsided by a transgender female athlete during a game. She sustained a
concussion from the impact that prevents her from participating in anything more than light
exercise.

“As a retired athlete and coach, I fear for the safety of my players.,” Metz said. “I fear
for the dissolution of women’s sports, and I fear for what girls have to face [when] they play,”
Metz said.

The proposed law states that studies have suggested that women’s athletic
performances will never match those of men and any other perspectives “are simply a denial of
science.”

No specific study is cited in the bill.

While there are no transgender females grappling now for acceptance on female sports
teams in Louisiana high schools, according to Forum for Equality, a statewide LGBTQ human
rights advocacy group, lawmakers feel that the bill is a preemptive measure ensuring equality
and equity for biologically female athletes.

Sarah Jane Guidry, executive director of Forum for Equality, said the lack of transgender
females in women’s sports reflects the lack of acceptance trans athletes already experience.

“This discrimination and the fear is already existing within our school systems and shows
then that they’re unwanted already,” Guidry said.

If this bill is enacted, Guidry said transgender children will “miss out on all of these
important childhood experiences and all the lessons that it teaches.”

Ponchatoula Women’s Basketball Head Coach and teacher Patricia Hebert Landaiche
said Title IX was created to protect the rights of biological women and allowing biological male
athletes to compete would remove the validity of Title IX and take away “the rights that we
have fought for the last 50 years.”

“When you have a biological male come out and try for my team,” she said,“it takes that
one biological female spot, then two, then more. Then, all of a sudden, you have a team of
biological males.”

Rep. Charles Owen, R-Rosepine, said that equity and equality for female athletes is “less
bad.”

“It’s not equal yet.” Owens said. “And this [bill] would be a wall of protection to help it
keep moving in the right direction.”

In addition, the bill notes that no teams would be allowed to be disbanded under Title IX
for the purpose of creating a coeducational or mixed team that would result in the detriment of
students of the female biological sex.

“Trans women are women,” Guidry said. “That…first and foremost should be
acknowledged. The language in this bill obviously does not show that respect.”

Exactly one year ago, Rep. Beryl Amedée, R-Houma, proposed the same bill that did not
make it through committee. Mizell said the bill was no different to SB44.

“Girls and women deserve the opportunity to compete in fair competition where their
hard work pays off and where they have a chance to enjoy the victory and many other benefits
that flow from athletics,” Amedée said in last year’s House Committee Education hearing on
May 4, 2021.

Allowing biological males into female sports “destroys women’s athletic opportunities”
and “forces them to spectators in their own sport,” Amedée said then.

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