Barbara Ehardt

Rep. Barbara Ehardt.

I want to protect women’s sports in Idaho. That’s what my legislation, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, helps to do. Any claims to the contrary are just noise.

I love sports, and more importantly, I love the opportunities sports afforded me. I played basketball in high school and college, and I coached for 15 years at the college level. I was able to live out my dreams on the court while also learning valuable lessons on teamwork, sacrifice, and achievement. I want every girl and young woman in Idaho to have those same opportunities. If we allow boys or men to play girls or women’s sports, we would be taking those opportunities away.

As a former athlete, I have the ultimate respect for female athletes in this state. However, the simple fact is, boys have physical advantages over girls. Those advantages mean, if boys competed against girls, our young women would become spectators in their own sports. That would take us back to the days of my youth when girls just didn’t play many sports. That would break my heart. It would be unfair, and it’s why we separate sports into boys’ and girls’ categories. It’s not to exclude anyone; it’s to make sure there’s a place for everyone.

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act doesn’t keep anyone from being who they want to be; in fact, it ensures it. A boy may believe he’s a girl, and they can identify as such, but that belief doesn’t cancel out their physical advantages. No amount of hormone therapy can completely cancel out all those advantages, either. That’s why this bill relies on biological sex, not gender identity. Furthermore, if we allow a boy to compete in girls’ athletics, they will take a spot from a deserving young woman. That girl would then be denied the opportunity to be who they want to be, an athlete.

All I want is to ensure a level playing field for girls to excel in sports, just like I had. Generally, men are faster or stronger than women. It’s not that women aren’t fast or strong, because we are. But, pretending that boys and girls are physically identical is naïve, and an influx of hormones doesn’t change the facts. I want to make sure that girls in this state don’t lose their roster spot to a young man who already has a spot on the boys’ team. I want to protect women’s sports in Idaho, for every girl out there who has the same dreams I did growing up.

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