BC Conservatives’ ‘biological sex’ sports bill quickly quashed

The NDP majority, along with two Green Party members and two independents, rejected the proposed Conservative bill at first reading.

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VICTORIA — A proposal by British Columbia Conservative Leader John Rustad to use “biological sex” to classify participants in publicly funded sporting teams and events, effectively banning transgender athletes, failed to reach first base.

His private member’s bill, the Women’s and Girls’ Sports Equity Act, was rejected at first reading, a fate that is a rarity in the British Columbia legislature.

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“Historically, most first bills pass through this place, regardless of whether you support them or not,” New Democrat House Leader Ravi Kahlon said outside the chamber on Tuesday after the proposed bill was struck down.

“What we had before us … was a piece of legislation that we believe is hateful and discriminatory,” he said. “For my colleagues it was a matter of principle.”

The majority of New Democrats, along with two Green Party members and two independents, rejected the proposed Conservative bill at first reading.

Opposition BC United voted to proceed to first reading, saying in a statement that the party was sticking to its policy under leader Kevin Falcon of never opposing the introduction of any bill on first reading.

“Under Kevin Falcon, the BC United caucus has always respected and continues to respect parliamentary tradition and support all bills from all four political parties, in first reading votes out of respect for the democratic process,” the statement said.

Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau said the participation and inclusion of all children and youth in sports in British Columbia should not be used as “political wedges.”

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“What we should strive for in this province is political discourse that unites people and does not sow hate, anger and fear,” he said. “We have sporting bodies in this province that are dealing with very nuanced conversations about inclusion and participation.”

Rustad told the legislature that the proposed bill would ensure that publicly funded sporting events “must be classified by sex and limits participation to participants of the biological sex that corresponds to the sex classification.”

He said the goal of the proposed bill was to ensure that women are treated fairly.

“There are inherent differences between men and women, ranging from chromosomal and hormonal differences to physiological differences,” Rustad said.

“But more than the obvious differences, over time, women and girls have struggled to be identified as people. They have fought to have the right to vote. “They have fought to be allowed in certain places and to be paid fairly.”

Kahlon, a former Olympic field hockey player, said Rustad was using his time in the legislature to “bother kids.”

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“I’ve spent my entire life playing sports,” he said. “I was bullied when I was a child. I can tell you that sports saved me and it is sports that save many young people. And in my opinion, using children and their abilities to simply be among friends and play something they love as a political tool to try to score some points is shameful.”

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