CINCINNATI — On Feb. 25, Ohio Rep. Jena Powell introduced a piece of legislation to the Ohio House which would make athletes in school participate in sports based on their assigned sex at birth.
Powell's bill is called the Save Women's Sports Act, and the focus seems to be on requiring transgender girls to participate in boys sports instead of competing against other girls.
"We understand that there's a biological difference between male and females that makes it easier for biological males to compete on a different playing field and different-level playing field than females," Powell said.
In Ohio right now, transgender girls can play on a girls team if they show they have completed at least one year of hormone replacement therapy.
Powell cites athletes like Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood -- two trans girls in Connecticut who both held a handful of state titles in girls track and field events in 2018 -- as reasons why this bill is needed.
"You know, in the state of Connecticut, we're seeing that biological males are now holding many of the state championship titles over females because they're allowing biological males to compete against them," Powell said.
However, Jessica Cicchinelli, mom to a trans girl athlete and whose family founded the organization Living with Change, said some people are just born athletes. Cicchinelli's daughter plays sports, but she said her daughter is not the star on the team.
"She's a decent athlete, but she's not, you know, she's not the best one on the team," Cicchinelli said. "But she loves it. And it's an outlet for her. And it keeps her physically active and in shape."
While many people online said they don't want boys to "game" the system by saying they are trans girls in order to get athletic scholarships, Cicchinelli said this is ridiculous.
"You would not choose this path, for anybody," she said. "It's a tough life; it's not easy. And to think that I'm gonna have my son come out as transgender in order to get a scholarship for college... I think that's really far-fetched."
The Save Women's Sports Act would also require transgender boys to participate in girls sports.
Although girls have to show they have been on hormones for over a year in Ohio, there is no such requirement for trans boys. However, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association, once a boy starts hormone treatment, he has to have his hormone levels checked.
In 2017 and 2018, Mack Beggs won the Texas 6A wrestling championship for girls in the 110-pound division because of similar laws. Parents said Beggs had an unfair advantage because he was a boy. Beggs had requested to compete in the boys wrestling division but was denied because he was transgender.
Chris Mosier, trans advocate and the first transgender athlete to make a US national men’s team, said in an interview with Out: "High school athletes come in all shapes, sizes, and skill and ability levels, and it’s unfair for us to police bodies and make determinations of who should be able to compete in sports... Barring trans people from participation hurts everyone."