The Education Committee is considering the Sports and Space Act

LINCOLN, Neb. (COLLEN) – The Nebraska Legislature’s Education Committee kicked off another week of legislative session with public testimony on another controversial transgender bill that affects youth sports.

LB 575 proposed by state Sen. Kathleen Kaut, who also recently introduced the Let Them Grow Up bill to ban transgender medical procedures for minors. Testimony on Monday’s sports bill lasted hours and drew strong opinions on both sides. The bill would allow children to play only on K-12 sports teams that match their biological sex, not their gender.

“As legislators, it is in the best interests of the state of Nebraska to protect the dignity, privacy and ability to compete fairly for all children in our schools,” Kaut said.

Supporters of the bill said biological males have a physical advantage over females, and allowing them on all-girls teams could eliminate opportunities for biological females. Opponents said the bill sends a message that transgender children don’t belong.

“Even if they were thinking about sports, they can’t do it,” said Abby Swatsworth with OutNebraska. “They don’t even think about it because they know it’s going to be closed.”

The bill also prohibits the use of locker rooms and bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex. One supporter of the bill, a student at Walker Hill High School, said it would give students safety and security.

“Why is it fair that they share a space that should provide privacy and security to students who want to change clothes or use the restroom?” Hill said.

Opponents said the issue is already being handled by the Nebraska School Activities Association. according to NSAA Policya transgender student who has not had sex-reassignment surgery must use a bathroom or locker room that matches their biological sex, or must be assigned a private bathroom or locker room, which opponents say the bill does not require.

“It looks like the legislature is looking for a problem that doesn’t exist,” Swatsworth said.

The bill also specifies that biological girls can participate in boys’ sports teams, but only if the sport is not offered at their school for girls.

No action was taken on Monday. We will keep you updated on the status of this project.

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