Education committee holds hearings on “Sports and Space Law”

LINCOLN, Nebraska (Nebraska) — The Nebraska Legislature Education Committee began another week of legislative session by hearing public testimony on another controversial transgender bill, this time involving youth sports.

LB 575 was introduced by State Senator Kathleen Caut, who also recently introduced the Let them Grow Bill to ban transgender medical procedures on minors. Testimony on the sports bill lasted several hours on Monday and generated strong opinions on both sides. The bill would only allow children to play on K-12 sports teams that match their biological sex, not the gender they identify with.

“As legislators, it is in the interests of the state of Nebraska to protect the dignity, privacy, and fair competition of all children in our schools,” Kout said.

Supporters of the bill said that biological men have a physical advantage over women, and allowing them on women’s teams could deprive biological girls of opportunities. Opponents said the bill sends a message that transgender children do not belong here.

“Even if they were thinking about sports, they wouldn’t be able to do it,” said Abby Swatsworth of OutNebraska. “They wouldn’t even think about it because they knew it would be blocked.”

The bill also bans boys and girls from using locker rooms and bathrooms that are inappropriate for their biological sex. One of the bill’s supporters, high school student Walker Hill, said it would keep students safe and secure.

“Why is it fair that they share a space that should provide privacy and security for students who want to change or use the restroom?” Hill said.

Opponents said the issue was already being regulated by the Nebraska School Activities Association. Under NSAA policy, a transgender student who has not undergone gender reassignment surgery must use a bathroom or locker room that matches their biological sex, or be provided with a separate bathroom or locker room, prompting opponents to argue that the bill is unnecessary.

“The legislation seems to be looking for a problem that doesn’t exist,” Swatsworth said.

The bill also clarifies that biological girls will be able to participate in boys’ sports teams, but only if the sport is not offered to girls at their school.

On Monday, no action was taken. We will keep you updated on the status of this account.

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