FRANKFORT, Kentucky (LifeSiteNews) – Kentucky Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed legislation Wednesday to keep gender-confused males out of sporting events designed specifically for females, though the measure is still likely to become law.
SB83 bars biological males from competing in girls’ and women’s athletic programs tied to both K-12 and collegiate education. It passed the state House 70-23 and the state Senate 26-9. Supporters of such legislation argue that indulging transgender athletes’ desire to compete as their “new gender” undermines the rational basis for having sex-specific athletics in the first place – the immutable physical differences between men and women – thereby depriving female athletes of recognition and professional or academic opportunities.
Beshear argued in his veto message that the legislation was unnecessary because the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s (KHSAA’s) existing policy treats the issue with adequate nuance, allowing “sex-reassigned” student athletes to “compete in the reassigned gender” only if reassignment was undertaken before puberty, or if their post-puberty reassignment includes “surgical anatomical changes” and verifiable “hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex” for a long enough time period to “minimize gender-related advantages.”
However, scientific research indicates that hormone suppression does not suffice to cancel out the physiological advantages enjoyed by male athletes.
In a paper published by the Journal of Medical Ethics, New Zealand researchers found that “healthy young men [do] not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to (below International Olympic Committee guidelines) for 20 weeks,” and “indirect effects of testosterone” on factors such as bone structure, lung volume, and heart size “will not be altered by hormone therapy”; therefore, “the advantage to transwomen [biological men] afforded by the [International Olympic Committee] guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”
Beshear’s veto does not spell defeat for the SB83, however, as Kentucky law allows the state legislature to override a governor’s veto with a simple majority vote.