Both sides sound off on transgender athletes commission

Aug 22, 2022, 6:30 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:19 am

West High Students at their walkout. H.B. 11 Survey said over half of utahns approved....

West High School students walked out of class on Wednesday, Apr. 6, 2022, to protest the state's ban on transgender athletes approved last month. Photo creidt: Lindsay Aerts, KSL NewsRadio.

SALT LAKE CITY — Now that a Utah judge has stayed the new law that banned transgender females from competing in middle school and high school sports games, state lawmakers are scrambling to put together a commission to determine on a case-by-case basis if transgender athletes can compete in school sports.

But will the commission come together in time for fall sports?

Welcome to the show

 Rep. Kera Birkeland (R-Morgan), who represents Daggett, Duchesne, Morgan, Rich and Summit counties, joins KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and guest host Scott Simpson to discuss what is happening with the new commission.

Also, Sue Robbins, who serves on Equality Utah’s Transgender Advisory Council, shares her reaction to the court injunction and what is happening going forward.

“Will that commission be in place? Are you having a difficult time getting it together?” Debbie asked Birkeland.

“My understanding in talking to Senate and House leadership is they will have it placed hopefully by the end of this week or next week. They are just interviewing potential appointee,” she said.

She added her expectation is any trans-athlete would have already registered and started practicing with their team, although not competing.

Commission on transgender athletes

Lawmakers met in special session to pass the ban, Debbie said, so why was the commission not set to go if there was a lawsuit against enforcing the ban.

Birkeland said it’s difficult to place on hold experts on transgender athletes competing in school sports.

Debbie noted that the three transgender athletes who have sued to overturn the state ban have a good chance of winning in court.

“Not once, unfortunately, in the many months that this has been going on have we talked about the difficult times and the losses and the constitutional rights of the women born identifying as female since birth,” she responded.

“I was surprised that the commission wasn’t triggered the moment that the judge issued his ruling last week. Are you surprised?” Debbie asked Sue Robbins.

“That it was ready? No. I’m not surprised because it required the president of the Senate, the House speaker and the governor all to make appointments,” she said. “And they would have to go through who knows how many people to pick out who they would want to appoint.”

Robins also said trans-athletes will likely experience uneasiness standing before the commission.

“There’s clearly a lot of anxiety on our youth about stepping in front of the commission of seven or eight adults and having their bodies judged in their existence judged,” she said. 



Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  


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Both sides sound off on transgender athletes commission