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One of the most egre­gious bills passed by the 2022 Kentucky leg­is­la­ture was SB83, “AN ACT relat­ing to ath­let­ics.”  The last entry of the act, on page ten, states: “This Act may be cit­ed as ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.’”  Of course, the act is real­ly a pan­der­ing to a very small seg­ment of a con­ser­v­a­tive elec­torate that is obsessed with sexuality.

By now, you prob­a­bly under­stand that the act being referred to is the one that bans trans­gen­der stu­dents from par­tic­i­pat­ing in pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary school sports.  But only in girls’ and women’s sports.  Isn’t it inter­est­ing that there is so much effort to restrict par­tic­i­pa­tion on the side of female sports activ­i­ties but noth­ing sim­i­lar regard­ing male sports?

Yet there is some­thing even more inter­est­ing (dis­turb­ing?) about this act. 

Section 1(2)(g) states: “The state board or any agency des­ig­nat­ed by the state board to man­age inter­scholas­tic ath­let­ics shall pro­mul­gate admin­is­tra­tive reg­u­la­tions or bylaws that pro­vide that:

  1. A mem­ber school shall des­ig­nate all ath­let­ic teams, activ­i­ties, and sports for stu­dents in grades six (6) through twelve (12) of the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories: a. “Boys”; b. “Coed”; or c. “Girls”.
  2. The sex of a stu­dent for the pur­pose of deter­min­ing eli­gi­bil­i­ty to par­tic­i­pate in an ath­let­ic activ­i­ty or sport shall be deter­mined by:  a. A student’s bio­log­i­cal sex as indi­cat­ed on the student’s orig­i­nal, unedit­ed birth cer­tifi­cate issued at the time of birth; or b. An affi­davit signed and sworn to by the physi­cian, physi­cian assis­tant, advanced prac­tice reg­is­tered nurse, or chi­ro­prac­tor that con­duct­ed the annu­al med­ical exam­i­na­tion required by Paragraph (e) of this sub­sec­tion under penal­ty of per­jury estab­lish­ing the student’s bio­log­i­cal sex at the time or birth;
  3. a. An ath­let­ic activ­i­ty or sport des­ig­nat­ed as “girls” for stu­dents in grades six (6) through twelve (12) shall not be open to mem­bers of the male sex.

What makes it inter­est­ing is what is includ­ed in the rules stat­ed by the KHSAA, rules that the bill spon­sors appar­ent­ly didn’t know about or sim­ply decid­ed to ignore them in order to pander.

KHSAA Rules for Transgender Athletes Participation state:

a. Each stu­dent-ath­lete shall par­tic­i­pate accord­ing to the gen­der as list­ed on their birth cer­tifi­cate unless they were legal­ly reas­signed.
b. Reassignment may be demon­strat­ed through the use of a birth cer­tifi­cate, driver’s license, pass­port, or oth­er cer­ti­fied med­ical record as ver­i­fied to the mem­ber school.
c. Each mem­ber school is respon­si­ble for mak­ing this ini­tial deter­mi­na­tion for its stu­dent-ath­lete.
d. A stu­dent-ath­lete who has under­gone sex reas­sign­ment is eli­gi­ble to com­pete in the reas-signed gen­der, pro­vid­ed such is not pre­clud­ed by addi­tion­al adopt­ed bylaw or pol­i­cy, when:

  1. The stu­dent-ath­lete has under­gone sex reas­sign­ment before puber­ty, or
  2. The stu­dent-ath­lete has under­gone sex reas­sign­ment after puber­ty under all the fol-low­ing con­di­tions:
    a. Surgical anatom­i­cal changes have been com­plet­ed, includ­ing exter­nal gen­i­talia changes and gonadec­to­my;
    b. Hormonal ther­a­py appro­pri­ate for the assigned sex has been admin­is­tered in a ver­i­fi­able man­ner and for a suf­fi­cient length of time to min­i­mize gen­der-relat­ed advan­tages in sports com­pe­ti­tion; and
    c. If the stu­dent-ath­lete stops tak­ing hor­mon­al treat­ment, they will be required to par­tic­i­pate in the sport con­sis­tent with their birth gender.

The key spon­sor of SB83, when tes­ti­fy­ing before com­mit­tee, admit­ted that he knew of no instance in which the issue of trans­gen­der ath­letes had been revealed as a prob­lem (and he, most assured­ly, has absolute­ly no idea what a gonadec­to­my is). In fact, the num­ber of trans­gen­der ath­letes in Kentucky is so minis­cule that the very exis­tence of the act (and the rules by KHSAA) is an abom­i­na­tion of Kentucky law and deprives a small num­ber of kids from being who they real­ly are.

So much for our vaunt­ed leg­is­la­ture and its abil­i­ty to address real prob­lems in this state.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.