Bills to ban transgender students from women’s sports go before assembly and senate committees

MADISON, Wis. – Bills to ban transgender students in Wisconsin from playing in women’s sports continued on the path through the state house Wednesday, going before committees in the Assembly and Senate.

Written and endorsed exclusively by Republicans, Wisconsin’s proposal joins close to 30 states attempting to pass similar laws following an executive order by President Joe Biden that banned discrimination based on gender identity in school sports.

The bills have already been met with opposition from more than 20 groups throughout the state, and drawn criticism several times from Governor Tony Evers, who is almost certainly expected to veto the bills should they pass.

“Transgender and nonbinary youth should be allowed to participate on sports teams wherever they want,” said Sagan Pizzingrilli, who coaches both boy’s and girl’s varsity soccer within the Madison Metropolitan School District. “I don’t appreciate that today we’ve come out here and talked about trans athletes just wanting to play. Yes, they just want to play. But also, they want to compete, and they deserve to compete with their gender”

Those in favor of the bills say allowing transgender students to compete in women’s sports would create an unfair advantage.

“Today Wisconsin women’s voices will be heard,” said Rep Barbara Dittrich (R-Oconowoc) who sponsored the bills.  “I decided to propose the protecting women in sports act bills because of the pleadings of parents whose daughters were competing in sports in my district.  

Dittrich says there’s a strong call for the bill from constituents in her district, while opponents of the bill disagree.

“There is a whole army of women in Wisconsin sports who are fed up with giving their opportunities and awards to those who are born biological males,” Dittrich said. 

While Republicans behind the bill say it’s about equality, trans advocates say it’s about anything but.

When you propose measures like this, you’re victimizing children,” said trans advocate Dina Nina Martinez, who participated in a protest against the bill outside the capitol Wednesday.  “You’re victimizing the transgender community. You’re victimizing those that are the weakest and the least empowered group.”

Martinez says the bill could lead to psychological and physical repercussions for trans students in Wisconsin.

The only thing I can think of is the children who are going to commit suicide, the children who are going to be assaulted from the kids on the playgrounds. It just breaks my heart,” Martinez said. “I feel like they should know that those children’s blood are going to be on their hands.”

The bills will go to a vote in committee next week, and if passed, will go to debate on the assembly and senate floor.

“Trans kids deserve our love and respect and support just like any other kid,” Governor Evers tweeted Wednesday.  “I stand with them.”