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'This is a sad day in the Commonwealth of Kentucky': Fairness Campaign responds to override, passage of trans bill

Under the measure, the student's gender on their original birth certificate or their "biological sex" will be used to determine athletic eligibility.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A bill that would ban transgender people from female sports has officially passed.

Wednesday, Republican lawmakers in Frankfort passed Senate Bill 83, overriding Gov. Andy Beshear's veto.

Under the measure, the student's gender on their original birth certificate or their "biological sex" will be used to determine athletic eligibility.

The bill bans transgender athletes from participating in women's sports from middle school through college.

Chris Hartman, executive director of the Fairness Campaign, said the bill targets just one student - 7th grader Fischer Wells. Hartman said to his knowledge, she is the only transgender female student-athlete in Kentucky.

"A child that bravely told her story multiple times to the Kentucky General Assembly," Hartman said. "This is a sad day in the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

Hartman said Wells started the field hockey team at West Port Middle School in Louisville. Now, she won't be able to play her 8th-grade year.

"I voted no for you, Fischer, and for your family, because you deserve, as a kid to be able to do what kids do, and that's play," Representative Attica Scott (D-41) said on the House Floor Wednesday.

Hartman said parents he's talked to are worried this bill is just the start of others that would target transgender kids, such as health care and even access to bathrooms.

"There's a great sense of fear in the air right now," Hartman said.

Republican lawmakers say the bill only makes sense.

University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines spoke after Wednesday's veto.

Last month, she tied for 5th with a transgender athlete in the NCAA championship.

"We, and when I say we I mean the majority of female athletes, want all people to be able to live as they choose and to be treated with respect, but we cannot ignore the biological and anatomical differences between males and females that are blatantly obvious and scientifically proven," Riley said.

Hartman argued state lawmakers have no control over what the NCAA can and cannot do in its competition. He also said this bill would jeopardize Kentucky's standing in the NCAA.

WHAS11 reached out to the NCAA for comment, but have not heard back as of this writing.

Hartman added he expects legal action against the bill.

While states across the country are passing similar bans, there is strong opposition to it. Some worry it will make people who are transgender, who have high rates of suicide feel isolated, and say pushing for this ban is creating a problem that isn't there since there are not many controversial cases involving transgender athletes.

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