Letter – Bill needed to ensure fairness in school sports
Published 6:25 pm Friday, February 3, 2023
The recent debate surrounding the designation of interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural and club athletic teams and sports based on biological sex has sparked a lot of interest and discussions across the Commonwealth and is specifically being addressed in the Virginia General Assembly. This bill is a necessary step to ensure equity in play, nondiscrimination against biological females and safety during athletic competitions involving female sports.
House Bill 1387 patron Del. Greenhalgh addresses equity and fairness in female sports in Virginia. While some believe that to preserve female sports for biological females is discriminatory, I would argue that these bills are a necessary step to ensure equity in play, nondiscrimination against biological females and safety during athletic competitions involving female sports.
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In the study, “The Impact of Hormonal Factors on Athletic Performance,” (Hormones and Behavior, 2015) found that testosterone does play a significant role in athletic performance, males being higher than females. This was further supported by the study published in Sports Medicine in 2017, “The Relationship between Testosterone and Athletic Performance in Men and Women,” which concluded that testosterone levels have a significant impact on athletic performance.
House Bill HB1387 requires schools and institutions of higher education to designate their athletic teams and sports based on biological sex, which proponents believe will ensure fairness and safety in athletic competition. I would agree and argue that biological sex is a clear and objective criterion, while gender identity is a subjective and often changing characteristic, most often giving the innate physiology of the male an advantage, even creating a dangerous and unfair playing field for female athletes.
Bill 1387 also creates a civil cause of action for any student that suffers harm as a result of a knowing violation of a provision of the bill by a school or institution, or as a result of the student’s reporting a violation of a provision of the bill by a school, institution, athletic association or organization. This protects students and provides them with a legal recourse if they feel that their rights have been violated.
Greenhalgh’s bill, HB 1387, is absolutely necessary to ensure fairness and safety in athletic competition, one of the very objectives of Title IX, the Federal Code most commonly known for seeing that women’s sports are treated equitably. In K-12 athletics especially, the disparity between female and male testosterone levels play a significant role and should be a deciding factor to assure safety for female athletes, a fair playing field and to safely preserve all spots on female teams that biological females rightly deserve.