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Balkcom files Fairness in Women’s Sports Act

Plunging into an issue that's hot nationwide for many conservative lawmakers, state Rep. Jennifer Balkcom announced on Thursday that she had filed a bill barring athletes who were male at birth from competing in women's sports.
The “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” would require teams to be designated as male, female, or co-ed, with team membership based on biological sex at birth, preventing biological males from infringing on female sports.

“When girls are denied a fair playing field, they are also cheated out of opportunities,” said Balkcom, a 1997 East Henderson High School graduate who played volleyball, basketball and softball and ran track. “As an athlete, I would feel discouraged if I had to compete against a male. When boys play in girls’ sports, girls are benched.”

HB 574 secures the rights of schools to have female-only teams, insulating them from adverse actions from a government, a state athletic association, or an accrediting or licensing organization, Balkcom said in a news release. It also affords litigation rights for a student denied their right to compete solely against someone of their same sex. If signed into law, North Carolina would join 18 other states to enact legislation protecting women and girls from being forced to play against biological males. A statewide poll showed over 70 percent of North Carolinians agree that biological males should not be allowed on female teams.

“As an athlete, I understand the long hours, the injuries, and the commitment it takes to achieve in sports," Balkcom said. "Physical advantages of males include larger hearts and lungs, denser bones, and stronger muscles. Title IX was designed to stop discrimination and create equal opportunities for females, and this legislation upholds that law. To allow biological males on female teams sends the message to girls, ‘you deserve equal opportunities, except in sports.’”

Other sponsors of the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” include Reps. Erin Paré, Kristin Baker and Karl Gillespie. A companion bill in the Senate is sponsored by Sens. Kevin Corbin, Joyce Krawiec and Vickie Sawyer.