Transgender athlete ban added to Ohio House NIL bill

COLUMBUS – House Republicans passed a bill to ban transgender athletes from participating in girls and women’s sports – shoving the proposal into a bill to allow college students to profit off their name, image and likeness. 

The bill passed, 57-36, largely along party lines Thursday but its future remains murky. Senate Republicans signaled they're not on board with the last-minute addition. And the puts the underlying goal – to enact a law allowing Ohio athletes to profit off their fame by July 1 – at risk. 

The amendment, offered by Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, would ban transgender girls and women from joining female teams in both high school and college. They would, instead, have to join the male teams or co-ed teams. Schools that knowingly violated these rules could find themselves facing civil lawsuits. 

Powell offered the change over the loud objections of Democratic lawmakers, who pounded on tables as Lakewood Rep. Michael Skindell yelled “unfair.”

null"The trans children need us to stand up for them. And I cannot believe," House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes started. "Actually, I can believe that we are here, because the cruelty truly is the point." 

Opponents of the change say it’s discrimination against an incredibly small group of kids who already face higher rates of bullying, depression and suicide. Only 11 transgender youth have played girls' high school sports in the past six years under rules set by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

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