A bill has been filed in the North Carolina General Assembly to preserve girls’ and women’s sports in middle school, high school, and at the collegiate level, and to ensure a level playing field for female athletes.
HB 358—Save Women’s Sports Act would require athletic teams to be designated—based on biological sex—as either:
(1) males, men, or boys;
(2) females, women, or girls;
(3) coed or mixed.
This requirement would apply to: all public schools; nonpublic schools that are members of the N.C. High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) or similar organizations; and colleges, community colleges, and universities. The bill is necessary because of a growing trend across the nation of biological males, who identify as female, competing—and often dominating—in women’s athletic competitions.
HB 358 clarifies that biological sex is determined based “on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” The bill allows a female student “who is deprived of an athletic opportunity or suffers or is likely to suffer from any direct or indirect harm as a result of a violation of this Article” to seek a legal remedy against the educational institution.
The Save Women’s Sport Act is sponsored by Reps. Mark Brody (R-Anson), Pat McElraft (R-Carteret), Diane Wheatley (R-Cumberland), and Jimmy Dixon (R-Duplin). NC Family joined the primary sponsors, along with several organizations, athletes, and individuals, for a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the General Assembly to present the bill. “This bill is about fairness and letting girls have equal opportunity in sports,” Rep. Brody said.
Beth Stelzer, founder of Save Women’s Sports, a “coalition that seeks to preserve biology-based eligibility standards for participation in female sports,” spoke about her personal experience as a female powerlifter. She cited Jennifer Thompson, a North Carolina powerlifter and multiple world record holder in the sport. While Thompson spent years of training, competing, and winning on the world stage, her teenage son—at her same body weight—was able to lift the same amounts. Others spoke about the natural biological and physical advantages men have over women, and the need for fairness and a level playing field in female athletic competitions.
HB 358 resembles bills that have been introduced in 29 other states across the country to protect women’s sports. Mississippi passed SB2536 this month, and Idaho passed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act last year, though this law is now being challenged in court.
The Save Women’s Sports Act has been referred to the House Judiciary 1 and Education Committees.