GOP committee declines to vote on GOP-backed bill to protect women’s sports

Sen. Roger Chamberlain, a Republican from Lino Lakes and chair of the committee, tabled the bill during Wednesday's hearing.

Left: Sen. Roger Chamberlain. Right: Sen. Carrie Ruud/senate.mn

The Republican-majority Senate Education Committee tabled a Republican-backed bill to protect women’s sports. The bill, introduced by Minnesota Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, would prohibit biological males from competing in women’s sports.

Sen. Roger Chamberlain, a Republican from Lino Lakes and chair of the committee, tabled the bill during Wednesday’s hearing. A source told Alpha News that the bill could be included in a larger education omnibus bill later this session, though it inevitably would be defeated in the DFL-controlled House.

Alpha News emailed and called Chamberlain for comment, but did not receive a response.

Under the bill, any public elementary school, secondary school, or member school of the Minnesota State High School League would be in violation of state law if they allowed “a person whose sex is male to participate in interscholastic or intramural athletics that are designed for women or girls.”

During the hearing, public testifiers shared their experiences with the issue. Beth Stelzer, a Minnesota-born female powerlifter, competed against a transgender woman in her first powerlifting competition, much to her dismay.

“Even after 12 months of hormone replacement, male bodies do not lose these advantages, and medical procedures do nothing to mitigate them,” Stelzer said.

USA Powerlifting Medical Director Kristopher Hunt shared data that show transgender women have a 54% advantage over biological women in a physical sports setting, even while taking testosterone-blocking hormones.

Sen. Jason Isaascon, DFL-Shoreview, said he would try to act with as much “civility” as possible discussing a bill he deemed “morally repugnant” and “horrible.”

Ruud indicated multiple times throughout the hearing that the bill is “against discrimination against women.” The bill is simply attempting to uphold Title IX, which gave girls the right to compete in sports in 1972, she said.

Ruud’s bill garnered a massive response from citizens around Minnesota, according to public testimony submitted to the committee and social media reactions.

Of the 10 written public testimonies submitted to the Senate Education Committee, eight expressed strong support for Ruud’s bill.

Almost all respondents pointed to the fact that biological men are naturally stronger and bigger than women, and that males competing with females would create unfair circumstances.

Adam Kleinfehn wrote to the committee, saying, “From an injury standpoint, females will be more likely to get injured under the pressure of playing at an unfair level.”

A 75-year-old female athlete, Nancy Fox, wrote to share that she is an active powerlifter who lived through the passage of Title IX. “When Title IX was passed in 1972, it was a glorious day for women athletes,” Fox wrote. “Frankly, I don’t care if people are trans. It’s their lives, not mine. I do strongly object to them competing in my sports.”

Angela Riniker, a former high school hurdler in Minnesota, reminded the committee that, “We [girls] earned our spot on that track. We succeed because there is a level playing field. That needs to be protected. That needs to be honored. In my opinion, any woman who doesn’t agree isn’t and never was serious about her sport.”

Hundreds of commenters on Alpha News social media discussion posts largely agreed with these testifiers.

One Facebook commenter asked if there would be any point in women competing if, for example, the National Women’s Hockey League was “overrun with males.” “Males are stronger than females and would push skilled women out of the league,” she wrote.

Another commenter indicated the issue this would pose in scholarship distribution because “scholarships will be missed by top-performing biologically female athletes. It’s so wrong on many levels.”

Not everyone is on board with Ruud’s bill, though. Some feel the proposal targets the transgender community under the guise of defending women.

Public testifier Laurel Turek wrote, “I find it especially galling to have this discussion cloaked in terms of ‘protecting women and girls’ while its intent is to hurt our trans youth and trans girls in particular.”

Another Minnesota resident said the bill “openly [discriminates] against transgender girls, who may or may not have a legally assigned sex matching their gender.”

UPDATE: After the story was published, Chamberlain contacted Alpha News and said that the bill is still “very much alive.” He also said the decision to not vote on the bill was a strategic move.