TRENTON, NJ – To preserve the integrity of women’s high school and collegiate sports, the First Legislative District lawmakers introduced a bill that would guarantee female athletes do not miss out on critical scholastic athletic opportunities and scholarships to universities and colleges.
A landmark piece of legislation, Title IX was passed in 1972 to prohibit sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives federal money. Currently, Title IX safeguards equality in sports at educational institutions that receive federal funds, from elementary schools to colleges and universities.
In 2019, two Connecticut transgender runners finished first and second in the 100-meter at the girl’s high school track and field state championship causing an imbalanced competition for the biological women competitors.
In a move to prevent a similar controversy from disrupting athletics in New Jersey, Senator Mike Testa has introduced legislation called the Fairness In Women’s Sports Act that would require participation in school-sanctioned sports be based on biological sex at birth.
Assemblymen Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan plan on introducing similar legislation in the General Assembly.
“I think we all realize there is nothing fair about any of this,” said Testa (R-1). “Unfortunately, life and sports are constrained by rules. For the sake of athletes born female who have practiced and worked hard and invested sweat in the sports they love, this bill will secure a fair and level playing field.”
The legislation would prohibit athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls from being open to male students, and defines the standards for settling eligibility disputes.
“We cannot ignore the physiological makeup of the human body,” Simonsen stated. “Female and male bodies are structurally different. Those before us fought long, difficult battles in order to get Title IX recognized and signed as a Civil Rights Law.”
“We cannot put our heads in the sand and ignore the science of DNA,” said Testa. “For many young athletes, high school sports offer their best opportunity to go to college, get a degree, and begin a career. For many girls who don’t have the luxury of dreaming to play in the NFL or Major League Baseball, college scholarships are the goals they strive to reach. This legislation would prevent them from having these opportunities stripped from them.”
“Athletes, coaches and supporters fought long and hard to earn respect for women’s sports, money to fund scholastic and collegiate teams, and professional opportunities in the WNBA and pro soccer,” McClellan said. “We need to defend women’s rights and take steps to preserve decades of work on behalf of female competitors.”