City Council in Kansas takes official stance on transgender athletes competing in women’s sports
SHAWNEE, Kan. (KCTV) - A city in Johnson Co. is taking an official stance on the issue of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports.
The Shawnee City Council voted 7-1 Monday to include language regarding transgender athletes on the state legislative agenda that read “a bill to protect the fairness of women’s sports; we believe that all should have equal opportunities in sports but allowing biological males to compete in women’s only divisions is robbing girls of their opportunities at all levels.”
The statement will be added to the city’s 2022 State Legislative Staff Direction document, which is for internal use by staff to be used as guidance when representing city interest for any proposed state legislation.
Councilmember Tammy Thomas originally brought the issue before the council with wording “no transgender sports in Kansas; having biological males competing as biological girls is ruining girls sports at all levels of competition.”
Councilmember Jacklynn Walters proposed the language to be changed to the statement that eventually passed.
Thomas, Walters, and the other five councilmembers who voted to put the issue on the legislative agenda declined an interview, but Walters sent a statement on behalf of her and her colleagues:
“Last year, a bill to protect fairness in women’s sports passed the legislature to ensure an equal playing field for women so they can fairly participate in athletics due to the distinct physiological advantages held by biological males over biological females. It narrowly missed becoming law and may be brought up again this year. This is an issue that impacts every family in Shawnee who believes in fair competition and certainly every parent that has a daughter playing competitive sports. Maintaining simple guidelines – which have been in place for decades - that ensure the fair playing field continues for women should not be controversial. The people of our community now know their City Council stands for fairness and truth.”
The one councilmember who voted against adding the issue to the legislative agenda is Jill Chalfie.
“Regardless of the beliefs that one might hold personally, it’s just not something that has an a place in a city’s legislative agenda,” Chalfie said.
Chalfie believes the vote may be in conflict with the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. She also believes taking this stance could make national sporting events or tournaments shy away from holding events in Shawnee, or even dissuade businesses from locating there.
“Businesses consider things like that and their ability to attract employees,” Chalfie said. “I think potential negative consequences of this far outweigh any benefit.”
At the council meeting Monday, one Shawnee parent spoke in support of the measure. Three other citizens spoke against.
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