Fairness Act would require athletes to compete according to biological sex

By Steve Wilson
February 17, 2020

A bill in the Mississippi legislature would require sports teams at the state’s public schools, universities and community colleges to be designated only for one biological sex.

Senate Bill 2240 would require any public school, university or community college team to be either designated for those of one biological sex or the other (in addition to an exception for co-ed teams).

The legislation also has a clause that would allow any student who reports a violation of the law and is retaliated against by the school or other athletic association to have the right to injunctive relief and damages. 

Another would allow a student whose bodily privacy was violated to have the same rights.

The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Angela Hill (R-Picayune).

While there haven’t been any cases of those born as males competing against girls in Mississippi, the issue has become a nationwide one as 17 states allow transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions. 

Three high school girls who run track in Connecticut filed a lawsuit Wednesday to challenge Connecticut’s policy of allowing male athletes to compete with girls in sports. They are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The three — Selina Soule, Alanna Smith, and Chelsea Mitchell — have been beaten consistently in track meets by a pair of transgender athletes born as males. 

The lawsuit says the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s rules allowing transgender athletes to compete with girls poses a threat to Title IX because of physiological differences between men and women after puberty. Boys and men have more muscle mass and thus run faster and jump farther than girls and women. 

Since 2017, two males have taken 15 women’s state championship titles in Connecticut. The U.S. Office for Civil Rights launched an investigation in August 2019 into Connecticut’s policy. The complaint was also filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funds. The law, which was passed in 1972, has led to a massive growth in the number of number of athletic opportunities for women. According to the NCAA, the number of female athletes in in 1982 was 74,239. By 2019, that number grew to 221,042, an increase of 197 percent.

Mississippi, Montana, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia are the only states that have no policies toward male athletes competing against females. 

A similar bill to SB 2240 stalled in committee in the Alabama legislature.


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