Wyoming ACLU Speaks Out Against Committee Passage of Trans Athlete Bill
After advancing Senate File 51 in the Wyoming Senate Education Committee, the ACLU of Wyoming put out a press release opposing passage of the bill.
The bill would ban transgender women and girls from competing in sports that don't match their birth gender, and featured some heated debate during its committee hearing.
According to the ACLU, the bill violates both the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.
Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy manager, said:
"If supporters of Senate File 51 really wanted to protect fairness in women’s sports, they would tackle the actual threats to women’s sports such as severe underfunding, lack of media coverage, sexist ideologies that suggest that women and girls are weak, and pay equity for coaches," Serrano said. "It’s obvious that this discriminatory legislation is about solving problems that don’t exist."
Janna Farley, communications director for the ACLU of Wyoming, said they are encouraging their supporters to contact their senators to oppose the bill, and hope to provide more information at a committee hearing if the bill makes its way to the House.
Farley said supporters of the bill have claimed that a male student could announce one day that they're a woman and immediately compete, but there is already a process in place to make sure that doesn't happen.
"There has to be documentation of a transgender girl's medical history, lot of those little details...The fear of this is that there's gonna be a biological boy who didn't make the team, who's gonna be like 'screw it, I'm gonna go be a transgender girl and play on the girl's team,'" Farley said. "That's not the way it works. It is a process, and I'm not trying to sound flippant about it, it's not just something someone can decide one morning to be like, I'm a transgender girl and I'm gonna go out for the basketball team, there's a process you have to follow through the Wyoming state activities association and follow that procedure."
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Wendy Schuler, said since introducing the bill she has spoken with one transgender person about the bill.
"We had a good conversation, it was a good conversation I think, I think we both understand each other's ideas and whether we found some common ground, I hope we did," Schuler said. "I think they at least understand there's no hate on my part, I'm not a fearmonger, I'm not doing this because of party politics, I'm not doing this for any reason other than it's the right thing to do for our girls, for our biological girls and women who want to compete in sports, that's it."
Schuler said she put the bill forward with no ill intent towards the trans community, and hope it doesn't have any negative impacts.
"To me, after talking to a couple of teachers, cause we do have in my district a couple of kids, they're not involved in athletics, that are trans kids," Schuler said. "How are they accepted, how do you think they feel. And they go, 'they are accepted, a lot of high school kids are really pretty good about yeah you're my friend, doesn't matter.'...I hope it doesn't affect anyone negatively either, seriously, I hope that."