Kansas becomes 20th state to ban boys from competing in girls' sports

Getty Images/Steph Chambers

Kansas has become the latest state to pass a law prohibiting boys who identify as female from participating in girls’ sports, with lawmakers overriding Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto.

House Bill 2238, also known as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, was passed on Wednesday when the state Senate voted 28-12 and the state House voted 84-40 to override the veto.

This makes Kansas the 20th state to pass such a law, joining Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal nonprofit specializing in religious freedom cases that is overseeing litigation against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for allowing biological males to compete in girls’ sports, celebrated the passage of the law.

ADF Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer commended Kansan lawmakers “for securing a level playing field for Kansas’ female athletes by overriding Gov. Kelly’s misguided veto of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” in a statement released Wednesday. 

“When the law ignores biological differences, women and girls bear the brunt of the harm. As we continue to witness increasing incidents nationwide of males dominating girls’ athletic competitions, it’s imperative to affirm that biology, not identity, is what matters in athletics,” Kiefer added.

“Kansas now joins a strong coalition of states that have acted to preserve fair competition for all female athletes, whether in grade school or in college, ensuring they will not face the losses that come with allowing males to compete in women’s sports.”

HB 2238 requires, among that things, that “sports designated for females, women or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex,” with participation based on biological sex rather than chosen gender identity.

The law defines “biological sex” as being “the biological indication of male and female in the context of reproductive potential or capacity, such as sex chromosomes, naturally occurring sex hormones, gonads and nonambiguous internal and external genitalia present at birth, without regard to an individual's psychological, chosen or subjective experience of gender.”

Last month, Kelly vetoed the legislation, saying in a statement at the time that she believed the legislation was unnecessary in light of current standards from the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

“Let’s be clear about what this bill is all about — politics. It won’t increase any test scores. It won’t help any kids read or write. It won’t help any teachers prepare our kids for the real world,” stated Kelly at the time.

“Here’s what this bill would actually do: harm the mental health of our students. That’s exactly why Republican governors have joined me in vetoing similar bills.”

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