Altered Utah Transgender Athlete Bill Passes

February 16, 2022 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
A bill that set ground rules for transgender student-athletes in Utah to participate in middle and high school sports has passed out of a House committee — much to the chagrin of both LGBTQ+ rights groups and social conservatives.

According to a recent report from, House Bill 11 passed on a 6-3 vote out of the House Health & Human Services Committee, but it is significantly different from the original proposal that banned transgender athletes from participating in school sports entirely.

utahBelow is an excerpt from that story.

“The original bill, HB11, there were a lot of issues with it,” Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, conceded.

“If their birth certificate says male and they pick a girl’s team to play on, then it will trigger a commission. The commission is outlined very simply,” Rep. Birkeland told the committee.

The special commission evaluates children and whether they are eligible to participate in a sport consistent with their gender identity. Membership of that commission includes a mental health professional and medical data statistician appointed by the Utah State Senate; a physician with expertise in transgender health care and a physiologist appointed by the House of Representatives; an athletic trainer and representative from an athletic association appointed by the governor; and someone from the student’s school athletics department.

“Everything about this is geared toward this child wanting to play in this sport. To me, it makes sense,” said Rep. Birkeland.

In public testimony, the bill faced pushback. Committee vice-chair Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, actually shut down one person’s remarks when she called Rep. Birkeland “bigoted and transphobic.”

Troy Williams, the executive director of Equality Utah, said they have been negotiating with Rep. Birkeland on the bill’s language, but had concerns about the partisan nature of the legislative appointees.

“The current draft reflects some of our feedback, which we are grateful for. We also have some significant concerns. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to throw our full support behind it yet,” he told the committee.

Gayle Ruzicka, the president of the Utah Eagle Forum, said she favored an all-out ban and the court challenges that come with it.

“Any bill that allows biological boys to play on girls sports, I don’t like anything that allows for that,” she told FOX 13 News outside the committee hearing. “It shouldn’t happen.”

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