Sports Equity for Female Student Athletes (HB 1251)

Written Testimony given to the House Education Committee by Shannon McGinley of Cornerstone Action for hearing on HB 1251, January 15 2020. 

Cornerstone strongly supports HB 1251, and we thank the many legislators who have sponsored it today. The bill is about sports equity for female student athletes. HB 1251 will protect a level playing field for girls, who are at risk of losing the ground gained by women athletes via Title IX.

Our nation has long used biological factors to make distinctions in sports teams. Youth sports teams are divided by age. Youth football is divided by weight. High school athletes are divided by athletic ability into varsity and junior varsity teams. And boys’ and girls’ – and women’s and men’s sports are divided based on biological sex. We make these distinctions because it is the best means to create a fair, level playing field for everyone.

A male who identifies as female is still a biological male, and science unequivocally demonstrates that males will, on average, have vast physical advantages over females in sports. Maintaining sports teams based on sex, rather than gender identity, is a matter of fairness. We wouldn’t let a 13-year old who feels younger play on a team for 6 & 7-year-olds.

Under HB 1251, every student in New Hampshire will have the opportunity to participate in sports on a level playing field, one that does not disadvantage female athletes. 

HB 1251 permits the use of an objective medical report if there is a dispute about an athlete’s sex. Basing the determination on facts rather than feelings is a matter of fairness to all athletes. The determination of sex rests where it belongs: on objective biological facts as attested to by a physician, who is licensed by and responsible to the Board of Medicine.

In fact, any child whose biological sex was truly ambiguous, such as in the very rare case of an intersex condition, would already have results of the evaluation called for by HB 1251, long before competing in school sports. Such evaluations are necessary for children born with an intersex condition in order to properly diagnose their condition and determine if any additional treatments are necessary. 

HB 1251 won’t deny any student the opportunity to play sports. It will provide an objective way to keep girls’ teams for girls. Every biological male who takes a place on a girls’ team because he identifies as female is displacing a biological-female athlete. That’s unfair.

Let me provide an example:

Craig Telfer was a senior athlete on the male track and field team at Lebanon High School in New Hampshire. Telfer was a mid-level athlete who never managed to break into the top rankings for men’s track and field in the state.

When Telfer went to college, Telfer began identifying as a female and going by the name CeCe. Despite never ranking in the top 1000 as a men’s hurdler, Telfer went on to win the WOMEN’S 400m NCAA Division II National Championship.

If Telfer had started identifying as a female while in high school, he would’ve blown away female star Corinne Kennedy from Lebanon, in the 300m with an over 3.5 second advantage.

No girl should lose a podium place to a boy competing on a girls’ team.

Shannon McGinley, Cornerstone Action