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Iowa transgender athlete responds after Gov. Reynolds pushes for transgender sports ban

Published: May. 6, 2021 at 7:17 AM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - Governor Reynolds wants Iowa lawmakers to pass a transgender sports ban before this legislative session is over.

Iowa is one of 32 states looking to ban women who are transgender from certain sports.

Lawmakers say it gives them an unfair advantage, but a woman who is transgender says that’s not the case at all.

Jess Bierling is a transgender woman in Iowa. She competes in triathlons and jokes that she often loses. But she says nobody has ever questioned her for competing.

She also says she would have never transitioned just to play sports.

Bierling also says it’s hurtful for the governor to not consider what’s fair to transgender athletes.

“The biggest problem with this issue is that you’re underestimating how good girls are in sports,” Beirling said. “That is the worst part about saying it’s unfair. You’re telling girls they’re already weaker.”

During her news conference yesterday, Governor Reynolds defended the proposed legislation, doubling down on the fairness issue for girls.

“They have a right to compete and to be entitled to scholarship, and they should be able to compete with girls,” Reynolds said. “That’s it. And if a bill gets to my desk I will sign it.”

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