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NH Senate Approves Bill Restricting Transgender Athletes in Grades 5-12

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FILE – The New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord.

FILE – The New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord. AP Photo/Holly Ramer, file

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire bill that would ban transgender athletes in grades 5 through 12 from teams that match their gender identity is on its way to the governor’s desk.

The Republican-led Senate voted 13-10 Thursday in favor of a bill that would require schools to designate all teams as girls, boys or coeds, with eligibility determined on the basis of students’ birth certificates.

Supporters of the legislation said they wanted to protect girls from injuries caused by bigger, stronger transgender athletes.

“When we talk about fairness and rights, we cannot cover all circumstances. And so in a very narrow way that I think is very clear to most of us, biological boys have an advantage over biological girls,” said Senate President Jeb Bradley, a Republican from Wolfeboro . “We can never legislate total fairness. But what we cannot do is create rights for some at the expense of others.”

At least 20 states have approved some version of a blanket ban on transgender athletes playing on K-12 and collegiate sports teams statewide, but a Biden administration rule prohibiting such outright bans is expected to take effect this year after multiple delays and much resistance.

The bans have also been challenged in court: Last month, a federal appeals court blocked West Virginia from enforcing its ban, at least when it comes to an eighth-grader on a team. ‘Athletics. An Ohio judge has suspended a ban on girls’ participation in school sports for transgender girls and gender-affirming medical care for minors.

In New Hampshire, the Senate already passed a bill that would have banned transgender girls from participating in high school and college sports teams. But the House rejected it earlier this month.

Democrats who opposed the bill passed Thursday said it was based on fear-mongering. Sen. Debra Altschiller, a Stratham Democrat, said there are only five transgender girls in New Hampshire who are athletes.

“These five girls do not pose a threat. They are the ones who are threatened,” she said. “Even though this protective gesture may seem valiant, we say no thank you. If you really want to protect girls, protect marginalized transgender girls.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has not indicated his position on the bill and his spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

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