Liz McCormick Published

W.Va. House Passes Bill Placing Restrictions On Transgender Athletes In Middle, High School

Transgender Athlete Bill - March 25 2021.jpg

The West Virginia House of Delegates advanced HB 3293 on Thursday, which requires that a middle or high school student’s birth certificate be the determining factor of a student’s gender when it comes to playing secondary sports like basketball or track.

The measure would prohibit transgender students from competing on “single-sex” sports teams. For example, under the bill, a person who was born male but identifies as female would not be permitted to play on a girl’s high school basketball team.

The bill further requires that if a birth certificate is not available, a student must obtain a physician’s note indicating the student’s sex based “solely on the pupil’s unaltered internal and external reproductive anatomy.” The legislation would not affect current co-ed athletic opportunities.

The House debated the measure for more than an hour. Supporters argued it would keep secondary sports fair and safe, such as for girls who might compete against transgender girls — meaning girls who were born male. Opponents said the bill is discriminatory and further alientates transgender young people.

The bill passed 78-20 with Vice Chair of House Education Del. Joshua Higginbotham, R-Putnam, voting alongside Democrats to reject the bill.

Three Democrats joined Republicans, including Del. Brent Boggs, D-Braxton, Del. Nathan Brown, D-Mingo, and Del. Mick Bates, D-Raleigh.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

West Virginia is one of more than two dozen states in the nation that have proposed similar legislation this year.