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Transgender sports bill inches closer to governor’s desk for round 2

Just like the 2021 Regular Session, the bill to prohibit boys from playing in girl sports is zipping through the Louisiana State Legislature.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 6:13 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Just like the 2021 Regular Session, the bill to prohibit boys from playing in girl sports is zipping through the Louisiana State Legislature.

Just as many would imagine, while SB44 was being debated on Wednesday, May 4, there was passionate testimony from both former female athletes and members of the transgender community. Both said what they advocate for is fairness.

In its second attempt, the bill by Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, which looks to prohibit boys from playing in girls’ sports is making strides through the legislature yet again.

“We’ve had a poll done within the state of Louisiana that shows over 80% support protecting women’s sports for biological females,” said Mizell.

She referenced the same reasons to back her position from last year, saying the science is overwhelming around the biological differences in boys and girls, specifically with bone density, red blood cell count, lung capacity, and several other genetic advantages.

A girls’ basketball coach shared her concerns.

“I look at their athletic ability and I see where the natural break is,” said Patricia Landaiche, the head girls’ basketball head coach at Ponchatoula High. “And what happens when you have a biological male come out and try out for my team, and they take that one biological female’s spot, then two, then more? Then, all of a sudden, you have a team of biological males.”

Several former athletes also shared their worries.

“I trained with the guys because they pushed me harder but I didn’t have to compete against them for that opportunity,” said Jennifer Marusac, a former female athlete. “Now, don’t get me wrong, there were guys I could beat, just not ones on the boys’ track team.”

Another former athlete recalled an encounter she had with a 6-foot-2, 180-pound male in a college soccer match six months ago that left her needing physical therapy.

“I was hit for no reason, blind-sided, and flew through the air, landing on the side of my head,” said Anne Metts, another former female athlete. “I was concussed that day and there was nothing that broke my fall that day except my head.”

Her comments were greeted with this.

“Sports bring injuries and we should absolutely be addressing concussions in terms of our safety legislation and policies,” said S.K. Grole, a transgender woman. “However, there’s ways to do that with the transgender community.”

“For every biological feature, this bill brings up ad nauseam testosterone, bone density, height,” added Serena Barns, another trans woman. “It still fails to define criteria for enforcement.”

“The only argument in favor of this bill so far has been that women are weaker than men,” said Jay Marel, a trans advocate. “So, you want to talk about equality, that’s pretty rough.”

Everyone on the committee voted in favor to move the bill forward, with the exception of Rep. Aimee Freeman, a Democrat from New Orleans.

“As you know, my district sees it as discriminatory towards trans individuals,” said Freeman. “And so, you know, I will have to object to the bill.”

Mizell said she knows there is a good chance the governor vetoes this bill just like last year but she added that no matter what, she will continue to bring it up until it becomes law. And also said she hopes whoever runs for governor next will be able to say where they stand on this issue.

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