JETER: Technical foul: Blowing the whistle on governor’s veto against girls’ sports

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A towering biological male recently took the top spot in a women’s college swimming championship. This win and others like it continue to shake up female sports at every level of play across the nation. My young daughters and other Hoosier girls like them deserve to compete on a fair and level playing field, and it’s time for Indiana to take a stand. That’s why I’m incredibly disappointed that the governor vetoed legislation that would have protected the integrity of girls’ K-12 sports in Indiana.

During the 2022 legislative session, I co-authored House Enrolled Act 1041 to ensure biological males don’t compete in K-12 girls’ sports. While this legislation could have went further, I strongly believe this is a much-needed step to protect Hoosier female athletes and their opportunities to compete, earn top spots and scholarships. In a surprising move, the governor gave the equivalent of throwing a penalty flag on the field by vetoing this bill. In response, House Speaker Todd Huston of Fishers quickly announced that House Republicans will return to the Statehouse to override the veto on May 24, technical corrections day. I look forward to joining him and my colleagues.

Already, 11 other states have laws on the books aimed at protecting female sports because they recognize that while we’re all equal, there are certain biological differences that give males an unfair advantage over females. Biology in sports matters. It can be the difference in whether you’re standing on a podium or on the sidelines. Biological males have greater muscle mass, bone density and cardio capacity among other advantages. Consider a couple of alarming facts. In 2018 alone, over 270 high school boys beat the fastest female sprinter, U.S. Olympian Allyson Felix’s, 400-meter distance world record. In Connecticut, two biological male sprinters claimed 15 state titles between them in girls’ high school track.

There’s a sad irony that during Women’s History Month and the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which ensures women’s right to compete, we’re once again defending women’s rights. If I were a referee, I’d blow the whistle on the governor’s veto of HB 1041 for a technical foul against girls’ sports. This bill is about fairness and safety, and it’s time Indiana joins other states that don’t allow girls to be robbed of athletic opportunities. Our state’s attorney general also stands with us and has pledged to defend this legislation if the veto override is successful.

As a dad, I understand my daughters will face many challenges in life. Hopefully, competing against biological males in sports isn’t among them.

State Rep. Chris Jeter (R-Fishers) represents House District 88, which includes portions of Marion, Hamilton and Hancock counties.

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