North Carolina Passes Bill Banning Biological Male Athletes From Competing on Girls’ Sports Teams

North Carolina Passes Bill Banning Biological Male Athletes From Competing on Girls’ Sports Teams
Law enforcement stand guard outside of the state capitol building in downtown Raleigh, N.C., on Jan. 17, 2021. (Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images)

Biological males who identify as female would be banned from competing in girls’ middle school, high school, and college sports under a new bill approved by the North Carolina state House on June 22.

The Republican-controlled House voted 62–43 to approve an amended version of the bill passed in the state Senate just days earlier by a vote of 31–17.

It now heads to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk to be signed, although he is widely expected to veto the legislation.

Specifically, House Bill 574 (pdf), known as the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” states that athletic teams designated for females, women, or girls in North Carolina schools and colleges will not be open to students of the male sex.

Under the bill, a student’s sex is recognized based solely on the student’s “reproductive biology and genetics at birth” and sports teams must designate teams as either males, men, or boys; females, women, or girls; or coed or mixed.

The bill also allows any student who is deprived of an athletic opportunity as a result of a violation of the legislation or who is subjected to retaliation or any other “adverse action” by a school for reporting a violation of the bill to make a legal claim seeking relief and damages of an unspecified amount.

Any public school unit or its representatives or employees who suffer any direct or indirect harm for complying with the legislation may also make a legal claim, according to the bill.

All civil actions must be initiated within two years from the date that the “harm” occurred, the bill states.

NTD Photo
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks to the crowd during an election night event for Democratic Senate candidate Cheri Beasley in Raleigh, N.C., on May 17, 2022. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Bill Branded ‘Cruel’ by Democrats

The State Board of Education will monitor middle and high schools for compliance with the legislation and if it finds a violation, it will report the identity of the school to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, as per the bill.

The legislation applies to both public and private schools.

During Thursday’s vote on the measure, Rep. Deb Butler, a New Hanover County Democrat, branded the bill “cruel.”

“We’re sending a very strong message to a very vulnerable group of young people that says you are different, you’re not allowed to participate,” Butler said.

However, Republican lawmakers say the bill is needed to level the playing field and prevent biological males who identify as females from having a physical advantage over biological women.

“HB 574 is a rational, common-sense bill that requires biological men to compete against biological men, not biological women, in high school and collegiate sports in NC,” Rep. Erin Paré, one of the main sponsors of the bill said in a June 16 Twitter post.

“We need to fight for fairness in women’s sports, no question,” Paré added.

Following Thursday’s vote, the conservative NC Values Coalition’s executive director, Tami Fitzgerald, commended the Legislature for affirming the rights under Title IX of female student athletes across the state.

“Women and girls who train for countless hours and years in their sports will have a level playing field, and their opportunities will be protected if this legislation becomes law,” Fitzgerald said. “This bill will also guard the safety of females,” she added.

Fitzgerald also referenced Payton McNabb, a North Carolina high school volleyball player, who suffered a concussion and neck injury in 2022 after a biological male who identified as female spiked the ball at her.

NTD Photo
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs into law eight public safety bill at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, on June 6, 2023. (Office of the Texas Governor)

‘Bodies Play Sports, Not Identities’

McNabb has said she is still suffering from long-term physical effects of the incident, including impaired vision, partial paralysis on the right side of her body, and headaches.

“The severe injuries of Payton McNabb caused by the strength of a trans athlete shows bodies play sports, not identities,” Fitzgerald said. “State and national polling shows support for this type of legislation is overwhelmingly high, and I urge Governor Cooper to side with women and girls by signing this bill into law. I look forward to North Carolina joining the other 21 states which have enacted this type of pro-woman legislation for female athletes.”

However, opponents, including EqualityNC, a transgender rights advocacy group, branded the approval of the bill “disgraceful” and said it had been passed with “no notice whatsoever.”

“Our opposition is so scared of our voice, they’ll resort to dirty tricks to pass it. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk. Disgraceful,” the group wrote on Twitter.

Elsewhere, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, urged Cooper to veto the legislation.

“Yet again, extremists in North Carolina are choosing to attack their own constituents, rather than legislate on the real issues facing their state,” the organization said in a statement. “As these politicians know, HB 574 does nothing to address the real challenges in women’s sports, which include chronic underfunding, unequal pay, lack of access, and harassment and abuse of athletes.”

“This bill only perpetuates discrimination and stigma against the LGBTQ+ community, particularly against transgender and nonbinary people,” the group added.

North Carolina joins a string of other states who have passed or are attempting to pass bills aimed at protecting the integrity of women’s sports, including Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott last week signed legislation banning biological males who identify as female from competing in women’s collegiate sports.

From The Epoch Times

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