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Lots of debate over transgender women in sports bill

Sabrina King
Bob Beck
Wyoming Public Media
Sabrina King of the Wyoming ACLU makes a point during the Ed. Committee Hearing

A Wyoming legislative committee heard lots of discussion on both sides of the issue, but took no action on a bill that supporters say protects young women athletes. Senate File 51 is the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. Bill Sponsor Sen. Wendy Schuler of Evanston said her goal is to allow women in the state to be able to compete on a level playing field. Her bill prevents transgender girls and women from playing on women’s sports teams because she believes they have an unfair advantage.

The bill got pushback from student-athletes at the University of Wyoming (UW) who disagreed with Schuler’s premise and others who were concerned about transgender people being singled out. Sabrina King of the Wyoming chapter of the ACLU said there could also be legal ramifications.

“The reality is that in order to pass this bill, you actually have to subvert the equal protection that all women in the State of Wyoming currently enjoy in the equal protection clause that has been affirmed time and time again,” said King. “The other thing you have to do is actually put the state of Wyoming’s Title IX funding at risk, because Title IX protects transwomen. And that is not up for debate, it is settled law at this point.”

Laramie Sen. Chris Rothfuss noted that the Wyoming Activities Association has had a regulation in place for eight years that uses input from local districts to regulate transgender athletes. He said by all accounts that works well and there is no reason for the bill. Education Committee Chairman Charles Scott abruptly ended the meeting without a vote on the bill. It could come up again Wednesday morning.

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