Stine: Crackdown against transgender kids in sports ‘is the same’ as Coach Kennedy

Mar 14, 2023, 5:21 PM | Updated: 6:01 pm
Rebekah Bruesehoff, a transgender student athlete, speaks at a press conference on LGBTQI+ rights, at the U.S. Capitol on March 08, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee passed a nationwide bill blocking transgender girls from competing in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

H.R. 734‘s specific language states student-athletes must compete in sports in accordance with “a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”

Fill-in host Jack Stine connected the growing legislative concerns transgender people are facing to Bremerton High School coach Joe Kennedy’s seven-year legal battle with the school district over his right to pray after games.

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“The right thing would have been to let those kids have the same decision that the Supreme Court made about Coach Kennedy, right?” Stine asked on KIRO Newsradio. “It would have been, just let those kids do what they want to do, right? I see the crackdown that happened to Coach Kennedy, and it’s the same way I see the crackdown happening to these transgender kids.”

The district officially reinstated Kennedy earlier this week.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Greg Steube (R – Florida), and the chair of the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R – North Carolina), subsequently supported the bill as the Republican Party’s “commitment to America.”

“Men are not women, women are not men,” Foxx said in a prepared statement. “They certainly shouldn’t compete against each other in any publicly funded arena.”

Foxx and the committee also supported and passed a second bill, H.R. 5 — the “Parents Bill of Rights Act” — which would require public schools to provide materials for parents to review, including but not limited to library books, class curriculums, and budgets. The bill passed on a 25-17 vote. 

“I have to think that a lot of this paranoia and fear around transgender kids has to do something with religious ideology, where you come from a background where the Bible says very clearly that God doesn’t really make mistakes when he makes you into existence,” Stine said. “I think that when people have this idea that a man is a man and a woman is a woman, and it’s very concrete, then you have a bunch of science coming in and saying it’s actually much more complicated than that — we have got neurobiology and the perception of self as a chemical process is unbelievably complicated — at that point, people tune out and just fall back on theological roots.”

Stine referenced the battle in Utah’s legislation last year, where the state’s Senate and House passed House Bill 11 to ban transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity, only for Governor Spencer Cox to veto the bill altogether. Cox cited his goals of reducing suicide rates among transgender youth as his reason for deciding against the bill.

But the House and Senate overruled Cox’s veto three days later, and the bill’s passing seemed imminent before a Utah state Judge decided last August that this situation needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis instead of an overall ban.

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“This was going to affect four transgender youths in total, in the entire state of Utah,” Stine said. “Not dozens. Not hundreds. Four. Four kids from participating in sports. And I think to myself, there’s something else going on with this issue, because any rational person would, even if you disagreed with the idea, or if you don’t read into the science behind transgender people, you would say to yourself, four kids — two of which want to play softball, two of which want to play basketball — I’m fine. You would imagine that most people would be kind-hearted in that way.”

So far, 18 states have banned transgender athletes from competing in sports that are consistent with their gender identity — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. The previously listed states all currently have Republican-controlled legislatures.

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Stine: Crackdown against transgender kids in sports ‘is the same’ as Coach Kennedy