Debate continues over transgender athlete legislation in Kentucky

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 10:11 AM EST
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COVINGTON, Ky. (WXIX) - The Kentucky High School Athletic Association is now weighing in on how impactful the trans female athlete legislation would be if passed into law.

Now, a transgender female athlete could compete in Kentucky if they’ve gone through the full transition medical procedure, but new legislation would change that, saying athletes would have to compete in the gender on their original birth certificate.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association says they can’t say how many students this impacts because of child health privacy laws.

“Yes, your net result may be the same, but felt like it should be hard coated in a statute rather than just a regulation,” Commissioner Julian Tackett said.

Opponents say legislation like this could have a big impact mentally on trans athletes because of the message it sends.

“They’re telling trans Kentuckians, they’re telling this community that, ‘you don’t matter,’” Dr. Bonnie Meyer said.

Meyer is the creator of the NKY Pride Center. She says the legislation is harmful to the minds of trans athletes.

The KHSAA says the legislation is to make sure female athletes aren’t competing against athletes who were born male and have a physical advantage over them because of their biology.

“Everybody agrees on is trying to protect participation opportunities for females,” Tackett said.

“Trans girls are girls. Trans boys are boys,” Meyer said. “For a student that is told, ‘you can’t compete in your assigned gender, what does that do to them mentally?’ It’s trauma.”

Under the legislation, athletes can still compete but it would have to be based as the gender assigned at birth.

“What we’re being told is it’s being approached from a prevention because we’ve seen it happen other places and we don’t want it happening here,” Tackett said.

The Kentucky legislature has until April 14 to take the final vote on this legislation.

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