B.C. Conservative bill to bar biological males from women’s sports shot down
B.C. Conservative bill to bar biological males from women’s sports shot down

A B.C. Conservative bill to prevent biological males from competing in women’s and girls’ sports was shot down on its first reading on Tuesday.

The Fairness for Women’s and Girl’s Sports Act was defeated in the B.C. legislature with 51 MLAs voting against it and 27 voting in favor.

B.C. Conservative leader John Rustad told True North he was “proud” to have introduced the bill, which he called a “first in Canada,” despite the NDP blocking it.

The bill would have required participation in publicly funded sports organizations to be sex-segregated and for all teams and events to be classified by sex.

“Participation in a sporting team or event must be limited to individuals of the biological sex that corresponds to the sex classification of the sporting team or event,” the bill said.

It provided an exception allowing women to participate in male sports but not vice versa; otherwise, male and female players could participate together in a co-ed league or event.

“Maintaining opportunities for female athletes to demonstrate their strength, skills, and athletic abilities and providing them with the opportunity to obtain recognition and accolades, university scholarships, and numerous other short—and long-term benefits that result from participating and competing in athletic endeavors in the province of British Columbia separate from their male counterparts is just common sense,” Rustad said at the first reading of the bill.

Along with preventing biological males from participating in women’s and girls’ sports, the act would have given sports teams and organizations the authority to request birth certificates and registration, and other forms of government identification to prove the biological sex of participants.

“There are inherent differences between males and females ranging from chromosomal and hormonal to physiological differences,” Rustad said. “But more than the obvious differences over time, women and girls have struggled to be identified as a person.”

He noted women’s collective struggles, such as their fight for the right to vote, to be allowed in certain places, and for fair pay, and said this vote was another example of women fighting for the right to be treated fairly.

“This legislation was a female-led initiative from start to finish. A team of women, including Conservative caucus research staff, female athletes, coaches, and advocates came together in defense of fairness in women’s and girls’ sports and pieced this legislation together,” Rustad said in an email to True North.

The bill would have also retroactively stripped recognitions of women’s sporting achievements from males from the records of relevant designated sports organizations.

The act would have prevented sports organizations from allowing retaliation by either the organizations or others against any players who raised awareness of a breach of the act.

The B.C. Conservatives promoted the bill with Canadian powerlifter April Hutchinson, who has been outspoken about the problems of allowing men to compete in women’s sports.

B.C. Conservative candidate and former NDP MLA Gwen O’Mahony told True North in an interview that she has heard from many women and girls in sports who experience unfairness with males, who, in one case went back to playing on a male team after winning in the female league.

“We need some rules; we can’t just leave it the way it is,” O’Mahony said. We need to answer two questions at the legislature when it comes to women’s and girls’ sports: Is it fair? And is it safe? That bill answered both those questions.”

The B.C. NDP told True North it would comment on its blockage of the bill but ultimately did not respond.

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