(The Heartlander) – A bill before the General Assembly would prevent transgender athletes from competing in girls’ sports in Missouri.
SB 87, also known as the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” was introduced by state Sen. Ben Brown, R-26th District, and would apply to sports, tournaments and athletic competitions of any kind intended for participants under the age of 19. Individuals who weren’t female at birth would not be allowed to compete in girls’ sports.
Likewise, females at birth would no longer be allowed to compete in male sports.
If an individual was assigned to an alternate gender at birth due to the treatment for a disorder of sexual differentiation such as chromosomal sex, disorders of gonadal sex or phenotypic sex disorders, those athletes could be exempt from the bill’s prohibitions.
Public and private schools that allow biological males to play girls’ sports would not be eligible for money appropriated by the General Assembly.
SB 87 calls on sponsors of youth sports programs to designate teams, competitions or games as “exclusively females, exclusively males or intramural” only. Intramural allows both genders to participate in a specific sport together.
Violations of the bill will allow a team’s opponent to recover damages or be awarded any other equitable relief.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association has a current transgender policy in place that allows males who identify as trans to play on female teams. Individuals are required to fill out a MSHSAA application for approval. MSHSAA gender policies can be found here. The transgender application process has been in place since 2012.
MSHSAA Communications Director Jason West recently told the Missouri Independent that 12 students have applied and been approved since 2012.
Democrat and LGBTQ opponents to SB 87 claim the uptick in transgender bills is a discriminatory attack on a small community. As Republicans repeatedly pushed and debated for similar bills in 2022, Democrats pushed back and stalled, creating a stalemate.
In a May 2022 interview with KFTK’s Mark Reardon, Gov. Mike Parson said banning transgender athletes from being on a team that doesn’t match their biological gender should have been easy to pass.
“It’s just frustrating when you can’t get stuff like that on my desk,” Parson said in the interview.
Eighteen states have banned transgender students from competing against the opposite sex since March 2020.