Missouri lawmakers debating a transgender ban for high school sports

Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 4:31 PM CST
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Missouri is now one of five states where lawmakers are debating whether to ban transgender athletes from some school sports. If the proposal becomes law, student-athletes could only compete based on the gender of their birth certificate.

"If you ban transgender people from being able to participate in sports that match their gender identity, then you ban them from sports all together, " said Karis Agnew.

Karis Agnew is Field Director for PROMO. PROMO is Missouri's statewide organization advocating for the LGBTQ advocacy organization. They advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Missourians.

Agnew says the proposed legislation is unfair.

"A transgender person and a transgender student just want to participate in athletics just like any other student who wants to be able to participate and be part of a team," said Agnew.

Missouri State Senator Cindy O'Laughlin proposed this ban.

The ban states that if you are biologically born a male then you cannot participate in a single-sex sports activity that any school would be sponsoring.

"If you are a male, you cannot get in a female race and compete against a group of females," said O'Laughlin.

The senator says if it is a single-sex sport that is who a person should be competing against.

"It's not a statement how I feel about someone who is transgender or any of that, I believe all people should be respected," said O'Laughlin. "However, I don't believe that the whole rest of the world needs to change rules and foundational beliefs to align with that situation."

Agnew says this would be detrimental to the transgender youth.

"For transgender students to be told they can't participate in sports is devastating and it takes away that opportunity for them to engage in activities that help them with social skills, help them with their mental health," said O'Laughlin.

According to the Missouri State Highschool Activities Association the law in missouri states transgender students can participate in high school sports.

Male students who are transitioning to become a woman student must be on hormone medical treatment for a year before participating on a girls team.