New Hampshire votes to kill anti-trans bill after powerful testimony from transgender teen athlete

Trans athlete, Maelle Jacques, during her testimony.

A transgender high school athlete has told a New Hampshire state legislature that she did not join women’s sports with the goal of “dominating competition” in powerful testimony.

16-year-old trans high jump state champion, Maelle Jacques, told politicians that sports had become a place that allowed her to “be seen as normal,” and that rescinding her right to compete would be devastating.

“If banned from sports teams and locker rooms, joining male teams wouldn’t be a choice for me,” she said.

Her speech came during a Tuesday (23 April) debate on a bill which would have forced New Hampshire trans athletes to compete in male-only competitions.

During the Education Committee vote, Jacques said that she was in opposition to the bill, as it would stop her from enjoying something she has loved “throughout my entire life.”

“Playing soccer since the age of three, when I began my transition in the sixth grade my school welcomed me into the girls’ team,” she said.

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“This act of being part of the team allowed me to skip through the phase of social ostracisation. The other girls accepted me as who I was.

“Being part of the team allowed me to be seen as normal, where everywhere else I could be perceived as a pariah.”

She continued that she didn’t join sports “with the goal of dominating competition or being better than anyone else,” but to feel a sense of belonging.

“No one would go through the bullying and self hatred of transition purely to win a sport, especially woman’s sports, which are under-appreciated in our nation.

“I joined because it is something I am passionate about and enjoy.”

New Hampshire votes to kill sports bill

Following Maelle Jacques and testimony from several other people, the bill was killed by the Education Committee in a 19-1 vote.

A similar bill, HB 1205, is still in processing after passing through the House in March, according to local outlet, Seacoast Online. It would explicitly prohibit transgender girls from entering female locker rooms and block them from competition.

Committee chairman and Republican representative, Rick Ladd, said the bill was shot down because the House bill has already passed, and the newly implemented bill extends its remit, which he said the GOP “did not support when we passed our initial bill.”

New Hampshire state capitol.
New Hampshire state capitol. (Getty)

Republican Mike Belcher, said: “I don’t mind the idea of telling colleges and universities what we need to be doing on this, but my hang-up here is that in this bill, there is an exception that allows young women to participate on boys’ teams.

“I believe that is somewhat inconsistent with the goal of preventing injury,” he said, commenting on trans men participating in male competition. “I also think boys’ sports deserve to be protected.

Democratic House representative David Luneau said the bill, and those like it, should be thrown out of New Hampshire state legislature entirely.

“We think [the bill] doesn’t have any place, doesn’t have any business in New Hampshire,” he said. “And frankly, what we heard from almost 40 people yesterday that, hey, these kids just want to play and be part of the team.”