Proposal to ban transgender athletes from female sports met with immediate pushback

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MADISON,  Wis. (CBS 58) -- There’s a push at the Capitol to ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports under a new bill introduced by Republican lawmakers.

The proposal was met with immediate pushback from LGBTQ groups and Democratic lawmakers.

Rep. Barb Dittrich (R-Oconomowoc) introduced the legislation “Protecting Women in Sports Act” which she said is aimed at creating a fair playing field in women’s sports.

Over a dozen other states are considering similar proposals to bar transgender athletes from participating in sports teams for the gender with which they identify.

“Males physically have the upper hand, and letting them competing against women opens up the possibility of jeopardizing women’s safety, robbing them of an opportunity and hindering their success,” said Airiana Lynch, a sophomore at Arrowhead High School who plays Lacrosse.

There is no guarantee the bill would make it to the governor’s desk, but Republicans do have majorities in both chambers, and could vote on the proposal this session.

Rep. Barb Dittrich (R-Oconomowoc) introduced the legislation and called Governor Tony Evers “sexist” if he refuses to sign it.

“There should be no reason why it does not go (anywhere), unless he's a sexist," said Dittrich when asked why she’s introducing the bill, as it’s likely to face a veto from Evers.

The proposal would restrict transgender individuals from participating in sports in K-12 and at the college level.

“You can’t win against men, that's biology, the reality, and honestly, you’ll ruin women's sports forever,” said Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls). “Why would you compete, if you knew you wouldn’t win.”

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association allows transgender girls to participate in female sports as long as they've had one year of testosterone suppression therapy.

The bill sparked a protest from LGBTQ groups and Democratic lawmakers outside the Capitol in opposition to the bill.

Megin McDonell, executive director of Fair Wisconsin and a parent of a transgender teenager, called the proposal personal.

“I’m frustrated,” she said. “We came out here to show our opposition to the people in the Capitol who think this should be their priority right now.”

An LGBTQ youth support group, GSAFE, also attended, along with about a dozen protesters.

“This is yet another attack on transgender youth, and I’m disappointed, upset about the impact it’s going to have on the wellbeing of our transgender youth,” said Brian Junchems with GSAFE.

Hours after the bill was introduced, Gov. Evers sent out a tweet in support of the transgender community.

“My message to Wisconsin’s transgender kids and students today is simple: I see you. You are welcome, you are wanted, and you belong,” he said.

Members of the LGBTQ Legislative Caucus in Wisconsin called the proposal "disturbing."

“Today’s Republican attacks on transgender youth and children in WI continue a deeply disturbing trend of legislators seeking to limit the rights and opportunities of LGBTQ+ youth in their schools.”

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