Allowing boys in girls’ sports isn’t a popular position. Nevada Senate Democrats are pushing for it anyway.
Trustees with the Douglas County School District are working on a policy regarding transgender students. Douglas is a very red county in Northern Nevada. Many parents there want to prohibit biological boys from competing against girls in sports. There’s also a strong push to keep boys out of girls’ locker rooms. Just a decade ago, these positions wouldn’t have generated a scintilla of controversy.
Now, the ACLU of Nevada is threatening to sue the district if it passes a policy separating students by sex. That could determine how the Nevada Supreme Court will apply the Equal Rights Amendment that Nevada voters approved last year. It says the government can’t abridge the equality of rights based on a number of categories, including sex, gender identity, disability and age.
But the state ERA didn’t keep Democrats from voting this session to raise the legal age to possess a semiautomatic rifle to 21. If the Democrats who voted for the ERA don’t think it should be interpreted literally when it comes to age, then why should the state Supreme Court justices apply it that way at all?
But Senate Democrats don’t want Douglas County parents deciding on their own policy. They added an amendment to Assembly Bill 423. It prohibits school districts from limiting access to school activities or facilities based on gender identity. If a school district does it anyway, the Nevada Department of Education can fine it up to $5,000 a day.
Think about what this means. A mediocre male athlete could join a girls’ team and become the best “girl” in the state, taking opportunities away from girls. A high school boy could walk into a girls’ locker room if he claims to be a girl. On overnight trips, a girl could be forced to share a room with her male classmate.
Ultimately, Senate Democrats are unlikely to prevail. The Assembly didn’t concur with their amendment, probably fearing a veto from Gov. Joe Lombardo. He recently signed a letter with other Republican governors decrying the Biden administration’s attempt to force schools to allow males to compete against females.
Polling shows that this isn’t popular either. “Most Americans oppose trans athletes in female sports, poll finds,” a Washington Post headline read last year. That’s far from a conservative source. But for high school sports, it found 55 percent of people opposed to just 30 percent in support.
It’s not every day that your political opponents initiate a policy debate that isn’t likely to pass and is deeply unpopular. Republicans should make this an issue during upcoming legislative races.
Yes, Democrats will call them mean names. And many parents will be grateful that someone is finally sticking up for them. As Govs. Glenn Youngkin and Ron DeSantis have shown, Republicans win on this issue when they have the courage and means to explain who supports what.
In Nevada, the contrast couldn’t be clearer. Republicans want to protect girls’ sports and private spaces. Democrats don’t.