Kansas senator claims her bid to ban trans kids from sports has nothing to do with trans kids

Kansas has become the latest US state to eye up a ban on trans athletes in girls and women’s sports.

“This is not a trans bill,” said senator Renee Erickson as she introduced the bill that would explicitly ban trans women from school sports in kindergarten through college. “It is a protection for women and for girls.”

SB 484 is the Kansas legislature’s second attempt at putting an anti-trans sports ban in the books.

It was introduced last month, passed the state Senate Committee Wednesday (9 March) and will soon head to the Senate floor.

Dubbed the Fairness In Women’s Sports Act, the bill states: “Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.”

Erickson claims that trans girls would “still have opportunities to participate in athletics,” The Kansas City Star reported.

“This is not keeping them from participating in sports, but we do need to protect that fairness for girls.”

Critics of the bill feel otherwise. “This is very damaging to kids,” said Thomas Wilt, executive director of LGBT+ campaign group Equality Kansas.

“The adults that are supposed to value them are trying to find ways to exclude and use them as a political punching bag.”

Stephanie Byers, Kansas’ first trans lawmaker, warned that using trans kids as pawns in the so-called culture war means they will face more abuse than ever before.

At a Senate Education Committee hearing, she read out the type of abuse often levelled at her – which she said trans teens will also likely face.

“Stop appropriating and making a mockery of womanhood, you fat f**k,” one comment read.

She later tweeted: “I [won’t] go down without a fight.”

Kyle Velte, an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of law, said that without any apparent evidence, there is  “only one reason for this bill, and that is animus dislike or fear of transgender people and transgender kids”.

Governor Laura Kelly vetoed nearly identical legislation last year, with the Senate narrowly failing to override it. And as the bill is once again debated by lawmakers, it seems pretty clear where support lies.

During the committee hearing, 109 people provided written testimony in opposition to the bill, compared to just 11 backers.

At least 160 anti-LGBT+ bills have been pushed by state legislators this year with more than a third targeting trans youth.