Last week, Ohio State Senator Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) introduced Senate Bill 132, the “Save Women’s Sports Act” to require schools, state institutions of higher education, and private colleges to designate separate single-sex teams and sports for each sex.
After being introduced on Tuesday, the bill was referred to the Workforce and Higher Education committee on Wednesday.
This follows Reps. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) and Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.) introducing similar language in the Ohio House of Representatives on February 3: HB 61, which featured 14 Republican co-sponsors.
LGBTQ+ organizations across Ohio have spoken out to condemn the language of both bills.
On Friday, Kaleidoscope Youth Center released a statement highlighting that the “instigation, encouragement, and continuation of public conversation centered on the validity of the existence of any individual or community is irresponsible and a form of violence.”
In February, following the introduction of the House bill, Equality Ohio called the Ohio legislators’ actions “among the most extreme attacks on transgender young people in recent history.”
This bill seeks to address a problem that simply does not exist. The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and many other sports governing bodies already have policies regarding transgender athletes that ensure that their events are fair, inclusive, and supportive of robust competition.
The mere existence of bills like this one can have a devastating effect on the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. LGBTQ youth suicide rates are unspeakably high in Ohio and across our country, and bills like these only add to the existing reality of risk factors in these young peoples’ lives. Every time a bill like this is introduced, calls from Ohio to LGBTQ youth suicide prevention lines spike. –Equality Ohio
On March 11, TransOhio, Equality Ohio, Newark Ohio Pride Coalition and ACLU participated “Supporting Trans Athletes,” a panel discussion on how to support trans inclusion in athletics and take action against anti-trans legislation. The full recording of the event is available to view for free online.
The Ohio bills mirror more than two dozen bills proposed across the country with similar language. In response to the Mississippi introduced earlier this month, TransOhio highlighted the need for passage of the federal Equality Act.
On March 10, nearly 550 collegiate athletes from across the nation signed onto a letter sent to the NCAA demanding that the association stop holding championships and events in states like Ohio that have passed or are considering passing laws that effectively ban transgender women and girls—and, in at least one case, trans boys and men—from participating in youth and college sports aligned with their gender identity.
We call upon you to ensure that the NCAA lives up to the guidelines and standards that they claim to uphold by making a firm statement that you will uphold the NCAA Anti-Discrimination Policy and only operate championships and events in states that promote an inclusive atmosphere. –Letter to NCAA