The Montana legislature passed a bill on Wednesday banning transgender women from competing on female sports teams in public colleges and universities.
Introduced by Republican lawmaker John Fuller, who cited his prior experience as a coach while defending the bill, House Bill 112 was passed by a 61-38 vote and now awaits the Senate’s decision.
Fuller believes this bill will help young women who are being denied athletic opportunities, though it goes against the current policy of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which allows for the inclusion of transgender athletes in collegiate sports according to their gender identity.
‘Save Women’s Sports’
Designed to protect opportunities for female athletes, the legislation to “save women’s sports” was supported by a handful of House members.
Coming just days after President Joe Biden‘s new mandate allowing transgender women to compete on women’s sports teams, House Bill 112 has received flak from opponents for its regressive nature.
Last week, the Montana legislature heard testimonies from several advocates and opponents of transgender rights. More than 50 people spoke up in opposition to the bill, calling it discriminatory and in violation of the rights of transgender females.
Despite receiving criticism from student groups, medical associations, and the LGBTQ community, Fuller defended the bill saying, “I have spent my life’s career defending, teaching, counseling, and encouraging children to achieve their dreams, and helping prevent them from making decisions that could irrevocably harm their future.”
Youth Health Protection Act
Fuller also proposed another bill termed the “Youth Health Protection Act” that would prohibit physicians from providing gender-related medical treatment to transgender youth.
The bill failed on the third reading and the motion to reconsider was also rejected 53-46.
Similar medical bans on hormone treatment and surgery for transgender people are also under consideration in Indiana, Missouri, Alabama, and Utah.