The passion over trans athletes is distracting from the simple question.

There is a disagreement over whether women and girls' sports in Wisconsin should be for just women and girls.

One side is arguing to protect the accomplishments and hard work of women and girls in sports. The other side is arguing that trans kids' feelings need to be protected.

The Center Square has the story.

Everyone who testified about the plan at the Wisconsin Capitol to keep womens’ and girls’ sports for women and girls truly cares about the issue. 

There was no shortage of passion from supporters and critics of the legislation at its statehouse hearing on Wednesday. 

But there were no definitive answers. 

State Rep. Barb Dittrich, R-Oconomowoc, is proposing the plan that she says it’s about ‘fairness’ to women and girls. 

Leia Schneeberger, a champion mountain biker from Madison, said the same thing. 

“In 2020 I had an undefeated season. I also won the Wisconsin off-road series championships three years running. People tell me I am the fastest woman in the state. However, this winter I lost. Twice,” Schneeberger explained to lawmakers. “I wouldn’t mind losing to someone like me. Someone who worked hard and trained harder to be the best. Someone who is my peer. This is not the case. I lost to someone who was born naturally bigger and stronger.”

Schneeberger said allowing trans athletes to compete against biological girls and women, whether in high school or college, hurts female athletes. 

“If both sexes are now in the same pool of athletes competing for the same pool of prize money, scholarships, and the same seats on team rosters then how long before every seat and scholarship [goes to] a born man?” Schneeberger asked. 

But there was just as much passion from people who want trans athletes to be treated the same as biological males and females. 

Andy Janeway, who is trans and an educator, aggressively told lawmakers that trans athletes are not asking for special treatment, they are asking for equal treatment. 

“Affirming transgender and non-binary youth is a life-saving measure. Allowing transgender and non-binary youth to exist authentically as themselves in every fact of their lives is better for their mental and physical wellbeing,” Janeway said. “This bill will do irrevocable harm to transgender, non-binary, and cisgender youth. It is patently immoral and unconscionable. And I urge you to vote against it. The safety of the children of our communities is at stake.”

Rep. Chuck Wichgers, R-Muskego, said the passion surrounding the legislation is part of the problem in figuring-out what to do. 

“There seems to be a hyper-sensitivity to protect the temperament, and emotions, and the psychology of the [trans] athlete,” Wichgers said Wednesday. “And it seems that, based on the testimony, that we are hyper-protecting. And I think we’re creating another problem.”

Wichgers said the legislation doesn’t discriminate against trans athletes. 

“I think it allows them to compete on what their natural, born, identity allows,” Wichgers explained. 

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