Idaho bill would ban males from female sports

Out in the state of Idaho, there were rumors of this last year, but it never got off the ground. Now, however, one legislator appears ready to step into the fight to save competitive women’s and girls’ sports. Rep. Barbara Ehardt, a Republican from Idaho Falls, has prepared a bill that would ensure that schools regulate who can compete in both male and female sports based on “DNA and chromosomes.” The bill has been in the works for 18 months and she believes she’s finally helped craft a law that will treat everyone fairly. (East Idaho News)

A local legislator plans to introduce a bill banning biological males from competing in women’s sports.

Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, says she will introduce legislation that would prevent a transgender individual from competing in high school sports that do not match the sex they were born with.

“Boys and men will not be able to take the place of girls and women in sports because it’s not fair. We cannot physically compete against boys and men. The inherent biological, scientific advantages that boys and men have over girls and women, even if they were to take hormones, even if they were to spend a couple of years on estrogen, that’s not going to replace the inherent biological advantages that boys and men have,” Ehardt told

Even if this bill passes it will doubtless be challenged and held up in the courts. While we don’t have all the specifics yet, the general description raises a couple of immediate questions.

The first and likely most obvious one is how they plan to implement a statewide system for aspiring athletes to “qualify” for either sports division. Previous attempts at such legislation in other states were most often based on the gender listed on the student’s birth certificate. That has proven inadequate, however, as some states already allow people – including children – to petition to receive new birth certificates reflecting the gender they “identify” with. Also, some states are allowing parents to mark the gender field as “neutral” on their child’s birth certificate until they “decide” what gender they are later on.

The Idaho bill sounds as if it will take a more rigorous route, ensuring that the student has both an X and Y chromosome for males and two Xs for females. So the family of every child will need to pay for a DNA test establishing the scientific, medically accurate gender of the applicant? That’s going to be expensive, particularly if the schools have to pay for it as a mandatory program. Also, there will have to be some sort of provision covering the small percentage of students who are born intersex and wouldn’t meet the requirements for either gender.

The other issue is why the ban would apply in both directions, though I think we can guess. Ehardt herself makes it clear that she’s doing this to prevent boys from using their natural biological advantages to compete against (and likely dominate) girls in competitive sports. But why bar girls from competing against the boys if they really want to? This becomes particularly applicable if the girl in question is “transitioning” to male, as we saw in the case of Mack Beggs. A girl pumped up on testosterone was able to take the girls’ state wrestling championship in her weight class two years running.

But if the law didn’t apply in both directions, I suppose it would have been shot down based on unequal treatment of some sort. I presume that the bill’s authors have already taken this into consideration.

This will probably be tied up in the courts for years unless the Supreme Court issues a ruling bringing closure to these questions of gender and sex. (I’m not holding my breath for that to happen, sadly.) But it’s at least a good start and offers some hope that competitive female sports won’t be effectively destroyed by a bunch of males taking over the competitions.

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