Barbara Ehardt transgender athletes

Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, presents her bill regarding transgender athletes in school sports on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.

Girls who want to play in high school sports, and pursue a college scholarship, now face “an interesting roadblock,” Rep. Barbara Ehardt says. That roadblock, according to the Idaho Falls Republican, comes when girls have to compete against transgender students, writes Idaho Education News reporter Kevin Richert.

On Wednesday, the House Education Committee gave its initial approval to a bill designed to keep transgender students from competing in girls’ sports, Richert writes. That means the bill could come back at a later date for a full hearing. 

In addition to affecting public school sports, the proposal could have far-reaching complications for Idaho universities that are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, writes reporter James Dawson of Boise State Public Radio. An NCAA policy adopted in 2011 mandates that its members must allow transgender athletes to participate in sports that align with their gender identity. Trans men may do so immediately, while trans women must undergo testosterone suppression therapy for one year before being able to join the team.

The proposal would force all sports teams sponsored by public schools, colleges or universities – including intramural or club teams – to designate them as either a men’s, women’s or coed team. Any team specifically categorized as a girls’ or women’s team couldn't be open to a student who was born male, even if they identify as female. Students disputing the rule would have to provide a doctor’s note proving their sex, which could only be based on their sex organs, the level of testosterone they produce and an analysis of their genetic makeup, under the bill.

You can read Richert's full report here at idahoednews.org, and Dawson's here at boisestatepublicradio.org.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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