HARRISBURG (KDKA) - Pennsylvania Rep. Valerie Gaydos, a Moon Republican, and several female colleagues have introduced a bill to ban transgender women in Pennsylvania from playing on women's sports teams.
The bill is controversial and was denounced by others as discriminatory.
"I was assigned male at birth, and I always knew that there wasn't something quite right with myself," Maria Montano of Beechview said on Tuesday.
Montano played boys' sports in high school.
"I did distance running. I ran the 800. I did the mile, the 2-mile. I did cross-country, and all throughout high school, I was very competitive. I qualified for state championships in high school," said Montano.
After college, Montano underwent medical treatment to become the woman she felt she was. Had she done that earlier, a bill sponsored by Gaydos would have kept her off the girls' track team.
"This legislation does not ban transgenders from playing sports," Gaydos told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. "What it does is make sure that if you are a biological boy you play on the boys' team. If you are a biological girl, you play on the girls' team."
Gaydos says she hears from parents worried that transgender girls are stronger than biological girls.
"This really comes down to safety. The reality is that biological males, no matter how much you take hormones or the hormone treatment, they will always have a physical advantage, and there are studies that show that," says Gaydos.
Nonsense, says Montano.
"Trans women have been allowed to compete in the Olympics openly since 2004 – and the amount of trans women who have qualified for the Olympics since 2004? Zero," says Montano.
"This is a piece of legislation in search of a problem that simply does not exist," says Pennsylvania Rep. Jessica Benham, a South Side Slopes Democrat.
Benham, the first open bisexual in the state legislature, calls this bill a political stunt.
"This is an example of stigma and discrimination against trans people. That's what it is at the end of the day," says Benham.
"Enabling biological boys and men to play against women is actually unfair to women," insists Gaydos.
Right now as for high schools, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association allows a school's principal to decide a student's gender, while the National Collegiate Athletic Association lets a trans female play on a women's team after one year of hormones.
Gaydos' bill has been referred to the House Education Committee. Gov. Wolf has already threatened to veto it if it passes the legislature.
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