Lawmakers voice support for bill aiming to ban transgender females from participating in women’s sports

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, April 25, 2023

RALEIGH — North Carolina legislators are moving closer to passing a bill that would ban transgender females from playing women’s sports after the North Carolina Senate passed Senate Bill 631, “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” last week, one day after lawmakers in the North Carolina House of Representatives passed their own version of the bill.

Each of the lawmakers that represent Rowan County — Sen. Carl Ford, Rep. Kevin Crutchfield, Rep. Harry Warren and Rep. Julia Howard — voted in support of the bill.

Ford said, to him, it was simple: boys should not be competing with girls — something he had expressed earlier. He is one of 26 Republicans in the Senate co-sponsoring the bill.

While the House’s version prohibits “students of the male sex” from participating in female sports in middle school, high school and college, the Senate version is only middle school and high school. Ford said the reason for the difference was that lawmakers didn’t meet with a lot of people from collegiate sports, mostly parents of high schoolers and middle schoolers who wanted to see something done. He said a separate bill could be specifically for college athletics.

“Less people have said anything about collegiate sports. There was talk on running a separate bill on that because then you get into private college, state college. You get into first year student or fifth year student. You get into this conference, that conference,” Ford said. “We wanted to concentrate on middle school and high school and then come back and take another bite of the apple for college.”

The Senate and the house will be meeting to discuss the changes, but Ford expects the bill to be passed. He also expects Gov. Roy Cooper to veto the bill, but said he isn’t worried because Republicans in the General Assembly have a veto-proof super majority.

Crutchfield, who is co-sponsoring the bill along with Howard and 46 other Republicans in the House, said the idea is to protect young girls. He said it was “near and dear” to him because he has five granddaughters and promised to protect their sporting futures.

“There’s no way I would want my granddaughter injured by someone born a male,” Crutchfield said. “In my view this bill isn’t against anyone. It’s for little girls, it’s for women, for women’s rights. They deserve to be protected and that’s why I support it. For me personally, it’s common sense. I realize it’s not for everyone, but I’m not against anybody, I’m just for them.”

Crutchfield also said he wasn’t against transgender females playing sports, but they should play “according to the biology for which they were built.”

“If you were born a boy, play boy sports. If you were born a girl, play girl sports,”Crutchfield said.

Warren and Howard could not be reached for comment.

At least 21 states have passed or are debating bills with similar restrictions. Currently, there is no national ban on transgender students playing sports based on their gender identity and President Joe Biden vowed he would veto H.R. 734 — which calls for a national ban — if it were to make it’s way to the White House, according to a news release sent by Biden’s administration on April 17.