The 48th General Assembly launched with the overwhelming defeat of TISL Bill 29.
The purpose of TISL Bill 29’s policy proposed preventing transgender males and females from competing on sports teams, opposite their birth-assigned sex.
The bill’s opposition argues the intent to be discriminatory, only adding potential harassment transgender individuals face every day. The bill failed with an overwhelming majority.
During the course of floor debate, representatives brought the topic of hormone treatment therapy, with several representatives reminding the room that hormone therapy changes the body in a way that makes transgender individuals similar in biological structure to individuals identifying with their birth sex.
Those opposing the bill reminded the floor that transgender individuals already experience harassment and bullying every day; that this bill would only enflame that by further separating the transgender community from their peers.
Bill sponsor, Ben Leach, TISL House Representative, maintains TISL Bill 29 is not discriminatory, but rather, written as a safety measure.
Leach argues the different biological makeup offered an unfair advantage or disadvantage to the opposing team.
When questioned for comment, Representative Leach stated that he wishes he could have spoken more towards the issues represented by the bill, and that he feels like the author’s intention was lost during the debate on the floor. He is hopeful for the senate debate, but feels that the chances of failing and passing are equal.
Although the legislative journey of this bill failed early into this session, the discourse and chamber of applause is representative of the building momentum of the 48th General Assembly.