RI Legislator Seeking To Challenge Sheldon Whitehouse For Senate Introduces Bills to Keep Boys Out of Girls’ Sports, Protect Parents’ Rights

2024-04-12 12:00:30

On April 10, Rhode Island’s House Education Committee considered legislation that would protect female sports and parents’ rights—in two separate bills that opponents on the Left say are part of a coordinated attack on the transgender community.

Representative Patricia Morgan, who is running for the Republican nomination to challenge Sheldon Whitehouse for Senate in November, introduced both bills on Wednesday. The proposed “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” H7727, would ensure that biological males can’t compete in girls’ sports in grades K-12 and at the college level. The second bill, H7781, is a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” that would prohibit schools from witholding important information about children from their parents. That would include secret social transitioning, where the school facilitates a child’s stated desire to switch to the opposite sex without notifying the parents, as we’ve covered here.

Opponents viewed both bills as just one part of a “package of anti-LGBTQ bills.” It was not lost on them that only the night before, Morgan had introduced a separate bill in another House committee that would prohibit gender-transitioning for minors. At times during the hearings, witnesses had to be reminded to limit their testimony to the two bills scheduled for that day.

Jaye Watts is the director of trans health services at Rhode Island’s Thundermist Health Center, a defendant in one of the Rhode Island detransitioner lawsuits we covered here. He submitted a letter of opposition signed by a coalition of over 470 organizations. The letter addresses the bills collectively, he said, “because there’s only so many adjectives that one can use to say that a piece of legislation is harmful, dangerous, and that it goes against the values of the majority of Rhode Islanders.”

Even worse, these bills are coming from “extremist groups seeking to impose their views on everybody else.” The proposed laws, he said, are “not about Rhode Islanders or Rhode Island problems,” they’re “seeking to create a harmful solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. This is about a strange new political agenda targeting the transgender community and that’s not Rhode Island either.”

Gregory Waksmulski of Amnesty International also rejected the bills as a foreign anomoly, “really off-color for our state.”

Others saw a sinister anti-trans motive in the legislation. Wendy Becker, a parent of a trans child, said the proposed Parents’ Bill of Rights “is not really about parents’ rights, or preventing harm. It’s about eliminating their own discomfort with anything unfamiliar”:

These bills are introduced because a small proportion of our population is uncomfortable with LGBTQ people, trans people in particular. They are engaged in a national campaign to dehumanize, target, and silence. Public prejudice should not be allowed to create public policy, and unfortunately that’s what this is.

[Transcripts are auto-generated and cleaned up and may contain errors.]

As far as Representative Justine Caldwell was concerned, the bills were “simply attacks on gay and transgender students.” She expressed contempt for the proposed legislation—and annoyance over having to come to work that day: “I’m missing one of my kid’s sports games to be here to dignify these bills with a hearing”:

But for  Amy Rodrigues, chapter chair of Washington County’s Moms For Liberty, H7727 is about fundamental fairness. Rodrigues is a competitive cyclist who described what led the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to ban men from competing against women in her sport:

So we have a local man who was not even really a decent cyclist as far as men go, go into the female category and compete against them in the UCI. He was pushing over women—we have this on video—taking podium spots, taking money. And cycling is a very expensive sport. This is not fair. So the UCI finally listened to the women athletes and they made an “others” category.

That wasn’t good for this individual. They complained, they went on several different news outlets, and said that they did not like to be called an “other” because they felt like they should still be able to compete against us and push us down and take away our spots on the podium. They want to compete against us because they’re stronger than us. They win and they know it.

The UCI isn’t the only sports organization to limit female sports to females. Earlier this week, The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the governing body for mostly small colleges, effectively banned transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports.

Child advocate Bob Chiaradio said their decision could lead Rhode Island to do the same:

The NAIA is like the NCAA for small colleges. It represents about 83,000 student athletes throughout the United States, or small schools that are NAIA schools. Now, pressure will be on the NCAA to follow suit, as well as Rhode Island.

And though you wouldn’t think you’d need a case study to prove it, but Chiaradio submitted a Massachusetts report showing men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women, and generally dominate most athletic competitions against women.

“Our girls and women deserve safety and fairness in competition. The future of female athletics in Rhode Island and this country is certainly at stake. Title IX was adopted to protect women, not men who pretend to be women.”


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RI Legislator Seeking To Challenge Sheldon Whitehouse For Senate Introduces Bills to Keep Boys Out of Girls’ Sports, Protect Parents’ Rights


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