On Wednesday, Kansas Republicans finally passed an aggressive ban on transgender people participating in girls’ and women’s youth and collegiate sports. This law could lead to state-mandated genital inspections of some athletes.
After Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the proposal in 2021 and 2022, Republicans finally gained enough support to make the so-called “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” law.
The new law bans trans girls and women from playing sports at school starting in kindergarten. The Kansas State High School Activities Association said only three trans girls participated in school sports this year. The new law does not ban trans boys from playing sports and goes into effect on July 1.
Advocates have been asking how exactly schools were supposed to determine which gender a child was assigned at birth, but at a hearing for the bill in February, state Rep. Barb Wasinger, who sponsored the bill, said that enforcement would happen through “sports physicals.”
Wasinger told The Kansas City Star Thursday: “Currently, you have to supply a birth certificate to even go to school. And if you’re playing sports, you have to have a sports physical for school, so I’m assuming that that’s going to take care of that.”
Kansas House Speaker Dan Hawkins said in a statement to the outlet Thursday that “absolutely no language” in the bill points to mandating genital inspections.
“There’s absolutely no language or intent in the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act to require any type of genitalia inspection, and that will not be the outcome of the bill,” Hawkins said.
But there is a noticeable absence of language in the bill to firmly back up that assertion.
Not only is the idea of children needing to show their genitals to an adult before being allowed to play sports horrifying to parents across the state, but the GOP’s hypocrisy is even further exposed as Republicans across the country have falsely accused transgender people and their allies of being sexual predators.
Wasinger has not yet responded to HuffPost’s request for comment.
After the vote to override, state Rep. Heather Meyer, who has a trans child, stood up to reveal her T-shirt with the words “Protect Trans Kids” emblazoned across the front. “All I’m seeing is people saying they hate my child. They hate other kids like my child,” Meyer said, the Kansas City Star reported Wednesday. “It just makes me upset, and I’m tired. But I’m going to keep fighting.”
Some parents in Kansas are considering moving from the state. “It’s a scary time to be raising a trans child in Kansas,” Cat Poland, the parent of a transgender child, told PBS NewsHour. “We may face the very real threat of having to move, and it’s heartbreaking.”
The new law is part of a larger sweeping pattern of extreme anti-trans bills making their way through GOP-controlled legislatures. In recent years, the Republican Party has made transphobia and other attacks on the LGBTQ+ community a cornerstone of their political ideology.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), more than 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are currently pending nationwide.
Last month, Kentucky passed an anti-trans bill into law that bans gender-affirming care for minors and would forcibly detransition transgender children. In Arkansas, the GOP pushed a bill to make it easier to sue doctors who provide health care services for trans children. In Idaho, providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth will be a felony starting next year.
Kansas Republicans have already passed another anti-trans bill. SB 180 would ban transgender people from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity and bans trans people from changing their gender on their driver’s licenses. The governor is expected to veto, but the GOP likely has the numbers for another override.