SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 17, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah House Democratic Caucus has issued a statement following the House passage of HB 302, intended to prohibit transgender female student athletes from competing in Utah’s K-12 sports programs with athletes born as biological females.
The bill is called “Preserving Sports for Female Students.” The full bill can be read at the bottom of this article.
“The passage of H.B. 302 from the House today needlessly targets youth who are already marginalized and vulnerable to mental anguish and suicide,” the Utah House Democratic Caucus statement says.
“This bill also exposes Utah to time-consuming and expensive lawsuits and bad publicity. To discriminate against transgender female athletes in Utah’s K-12 school sports is bad policy and reflects poorly on our entire state.
“If this bill is enacted, Utah may lose out on collegiate championships, the NBA All-Star game, and the winter Olympics as well as the economic and reputational opportunities that come with hosting.
“The legislation is also likely unconstitutional under the Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution and Utah State Constitution,” the statement continues. “The bill runs contrary to the spirit of our state’s shared values against discrimination and equal opportunity, and it exposes Utah to millions of dollars in legal fees. The Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) already has rules and standards in place to address these extraordinarily rare cases, as does the NCAA.
“Instead of persecuting kids who deserve our love and support, just let them play sports and let us get back to issues that benefit our constituents.”
Transgender Educational Advocates (TEA) of Utah also released a statement on the House passage of the bill, on Wednesday, by a vote of 50-23.
“In my 15 years of advocacy work and almost a decade of working with gender-diverse individuals and their families, I have never seen a time when these young people have been more under attack,” said Dr. Candice Metzler, Executive Director for Transgender Education Advocates of Utah. “The messages being sent to them are damaging on a number of levels.”
The TEA statement says the reasons include a damage to the targeted transgender athletes, and a likely increase in bullying and self-harm; the lack of a need for a potentially harmful policy, given that no transgender females currently compete in Utah at any level; and a public show of disrespecting the youth of the transgender community.
Read TEA’s full statement and its plea that citizens contact lawmakers by clicking here.
The bill:House Bill 302