SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers advanced an amended proposal to limit transgender athletes from participating in women’s youth sports on Monday, revisiting a heated debate that has raked through dozens Republican-led statehouses.
The proposal, which would create a commission to determine which transgender athletes can participate in women’s sports, is the latest attempt by Republican Kera Birkeland to bring state oversight to youth sports. Similar state-based efforts, including Idaho and Tennessee, have become recent touchstones for the nationwide LGBTQ rights movement, sparking legal battles and boycotts.
After more than a year of negotiations and the scrapping of a plan to allow transgender girls to compete after changing the sex on their birth certificates and receiving one year of hormone therapy, Birkeland’s commission proposal took its first step toward enactment on Monday, passing through a legislative health committee.
If enacted, transgender kids in Utah would be required to go before a “School Activity Eligibility Commission,” which will evaluate where they fall along “baseline ranges” regarding physical characteristics for age and gender.
The commission would be composed of members including physicians, mental health professionals, statisticians and athletic trainers. All would be appointed by Gov. Spencer Cox and leaders of Utah’s Republican-supermajority Legislature.