The Arizona House of Representatives has passed a controversial bill that aims to ban transgender female athletes from participating in school sports.
If signed into law, the ban would apply to all students studying in the state.
The “Save Women’s Sports Act,” introduced by Republican Rep. Nancy Barto this week would require interscholastic and intramural sports sponsored by educational institutions to explicitly designate sports as for males or females based on a persons’ biological sex.
While Barto and others who voted for the bill agree that Is is about keeping a level playing field, opponents argue that it fails to protect LGBTQ kids and transgender youth.
During the hearing, Democratic Rep. Kirsten Engel said, “The impact will not be to protect women’s sports, instead it’s gonna make women’s sports a total battleground of lawsuits.”
“It’s gonna bring people out of the corners of the field to cast accusations — the liability here is so broad that I have very severe concerns that some schools will find some excuse to — simply not have games,” she added.
In a statement to ABC News, Barto said: ‘This bill is about fairness. That’s it. What is fair on the field, the court, the track, and in the pool.’
Barto cited the biological differences between males and females from lung capacity and muscle mass to testosterone levels, give men “an undeniable physical advantage over women in sports.”
“That is why we have separated male and female sports. And that is why women have been so successful in achieving greatness on the field, and all the benefits that go with it,” Barto continued. “What has changed is Interscholastic policies allowing biological males identifying as females to compete on women’s teams.”
The bill would apply to K-12, community college and universities’ female teams.