The State of Iowa has recently made a controversial move regarding the question of transgender participation in women’s sports. The sports world and general public do not have a clear consensus on the questions yet. Many maintain that transgender individuals are the gender they identify as, and, as such, they are allowed to participate in any sports activity they choose to partake in. To bar them from a competitive sport is a smudge on the equality before the law guaranteed to all individuals. At least this is the argument raised by the pro-transgender participation side.
Others feel this alleged equality would effectively take away the level playing field that competitive sports require. After all, transgendered individuals are raised as their assigned birth for the largest portion of their lives (at least most of them are). They have the bone structure and muscularity of their biological sex. To artificially impose an arbitrary “estrogen level” is beside the point for them — it is admittedly an arbitrary measure, done to assuage certain legitimate concerns. All in all, the debate still rages on, and we will have to see what the future holds for both positions.
That’s where the State of Iowa stepped in. After debating the issue, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill to bar biological men from participation in women’s sports. Here is the full statement, released by Governor Reynolds on Thursday:
“Gov. Kim Reynolds today signed HF 2416 into law protecting girls’ sports programs at all school levels, including high school and collegiate levels in Iowa. The bill allows participation in sports-based upon the biological sex listed on the athlete’s birth certificate.
‘This is a victory for girls’ sports in Iowa. No amount of talent, training, or effort can make up for the natural physical advantages males have over females. It’s simply a reality of human biology,’ said Gov. Reynolds. ‘Forcing females to compete against males is the opposite of inclusivity and it’s absolutely unfair.’
This bill requires schools at all levels to designate sporting events as male, female, or co-ed. Only students who are female according to their birth certificate will be eligible to compete in girls’ sports. No student will be prevented from playing a sport that matches his or her biological sex, or a sport designated as co-ed. “
This bill will surely be controversial. But it is a part of the continued conversation our nation is sure to have on this issue.