TOPEKA (KSNT) – A new Kansas law going into effect this summer bans transgender athletes from women sports. The legislation has been raising questions over enforcement, and how a new federal Title IX proposal could impact the law.
KSHSAA, the state high school activities association, is in charge of rules and regulations. Under the law, student athletes will be separated based on biological sex determined at birth. The association will be required to designate teams as male, female, or coed/mixed.
While, it’s unclear how exactly enforcement of the law will play out, Topeka political analyst Bob Beatty said it could come down to one key item – local control.
“Currently… the local school gathers lots of different information… and then decides where that athlete will participate. This can include gender at birth… but it can also include hormone treatment and possibly even surgeries,” Beatty said.
Currently, KSHSAA requires physical screenings for all student athletes that participate in sports. The new law, however, doesn’t specifically force or require genital exams to determine biological sex.
KSHSAA’s current policy for transgender athletes allows schools to decide whether to allow the student to participate in a league based on how they identify. Under the new law, that would no longer be an option.
“…And [it] simply says whatever gender somebody is born with… they have to participate with that gender,” Beatty explained.
KSHSAA plans to meet later this month to address the impact the new law will have on its current policy.
Republican efforts to ban transgender athletes from women’s sports could also meet a roadblock with the latest Title IX proposal from President Biden’s administration.
The U.S. Department of Education is proposing a new rule that would forbid schools and colleges across the U.S. from enacting outright bans on transgender athletes.
The rule would have to be vetted, before President Biden’s administration could finalize any changes, meaning the earliest the policy is likely to take effect is next year.
Beatty said, if the change is established, it’s likely to be challenged, and could also revert Kansas back to a similar system already put in place under KSHSAA’s policy.
“Title nine would bar any state from a blanket ban like Kansas has done, but allow individual cases to be adjudicated at the local level,” Beatty said.