Supporters of preventing biological males from dominating Granite State girls’ sports competitions scored a win Thursday when the state House advanced the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.”

House Bill 1205 requires New Hampshire schools to classify sports teams as either “male,” “female,” or “coed” and then ban biological males from participating in female sports.

The bill passed on a party-line vote of 189-182, with every Democrat voting against it and all but one Republican lawmaker—Rep. Susan Vandecasteele (R-Salem)—supporting it.

“The sexes are obviously different, and to allow men to compete in women’s sports based on gender identification would gradually eliminate women from their sports,” co-sponsor Rep. Len Turcotte (R-Barrington) told NHJournal. “This mandates fairness, in my opinion.”

Turcotte also noted the bill applies to grades 5-12 only.

Immediately following Thursday’s vote, progressive state Rep. Alissandra Murray (D-Manchester) — who identifies as nonbinary — took to social media to accuse her GOP colleagues of committing “a clear act of hate and discrimination.”

But for Rep. Katy Peternel (R-Wolfeboro), the bill’s passage is a step toward protecting female athletes like her daughter. Peternel said 10 years ago, her daughter told her a transgender individual had joined her soccer team. Her daughter said she was concerned that either she or one of her teammates on the team would be displaced or lose playing time.

“‘Mom, this isn’t fair, what can we do?’” Peternel recalled her daughter asking at the time.

According to Peternel, outside of filing a federal lawsuit, there was nothing that could be done.

“We all want equal access to sports. But a girl should not be displaced by a boy on a team designated for girls,” Peternel said from the House floor.

Democrats like Rep. Alexis Simpson (D-Exeter) insist that “transgender student-athletes are not taking away opportunities from cisgender student-athletes.”

Simpson criticized the proposal and cautioned that if it becomes a law, students who are unable to produce a birth certificate or other verification “may need to disrobe in front of a school official to prove who they are so that they can participate in sports for fun with their friends.”

Supporters responded by pointing to very real examples of lost opportunities for women. A local track meet made national headlines last month when a male athlete from Kearsarge Regional High School student captured first place in a statewide high jump competition.

Rep. Timothy Horrigan (D-Durham) described women athletes as “so-called ‘biological females’” when he testified against SB 524 in committee, and he dismissed the Kearsarge case as unimportant.

“A lot of these cases, they are pretty obscure competitions that normally sports fans wouldn’t be paying much attention to,” Horrigan said at the time.

Peternel referenced his remarks during Thursday’s floor vote, calling his attitude “insulting.”

One particular case referenced by Democrats prior to the vote occurred last fall and involved a female Massachusetts field hockey player who was severely injured when a male player on an opposing team fired a shot, hitting her in the face so hard it knocked out several of her teeth.

The incident was caught on camera and quickly went viral on social media.

“When I stepped onto that bus last night when our girls got back to Regional Road, what I saw in their eyes was trauma,” Dighton-Rehoboth Regional Schools Superintendent Bill Runey said at the time.

New Hampshire Democrats like Simpson argued Thursday the incident should be disregarded since the male player involved in the play is not transgender.

“This story has been told to blame a transgender girl, but that’s not the truth,” Simpson said. “The student who hit the ball is a cisgender boy, born a boy, identifies as a boy, and has no question he is a boy. The student is not transgender.”

However, supporters of the bill noted that, physically, there would be no difference if he identified as female, which is why the “Fairness in Women’s Sports” act is needed.

Cornerstone Action, the non-partisan, non-profit Christian advocacy organization, applauded the House vote and said in a statement it is “encouraged by the growing realization of the dangers and discrimination that occur when biological males are allowed to dominate in women’s sports.”

A 2022 National Institute of Health study found “the former male physiology of transwoman athletes provides them with a physiological advantage over the cis-female athlete.”

“By allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports, we are telling our women and girls that they don’t matter and that they need to put their own goals and dreams aside for a boy or a man to take their place,” Peternel argued. “That they need to remain silent in the face of injustice. We owe our daughters and granddaughters more than this.”

Democrats warned the state was putting itself at risk of violating federal anti-discrimination laws.

“(It) would discriminate against a group of students, a direct violation of Title IX,” claimed Rep. Stephen Woodcock (D-Conway), referring to the landmark 1972 law barring exclusion on the basis of sex. “(It) would jeopardize federal funds, which on average is $165 million a year.”

“Can’t wait for this to go to the NH Supreme Court for review,” Rep. Candace Gibbons (D-Manchester) posted on X.

Ironically, Title IX was used to create female-only sports teams at schools and colleges across the U.S. Defenders of women’s sports say the attempt to force biological males into their competitions undermines a major success of the feminist movement.

The issue is already before the federal courts.

On March 14, 16 female athletes filed a lawsuit challenging the NCAA for its inclusion of transgender competitors in their respective sports. The lawsuit stems from the decision to allow swimmer Lia Thomas, a transgender woman who was born a male, to dominate the 2022 women’s National Swimming Championships while a student at the University of Pennsylvania.

The complaint alleges that both the NCAA and the Georgia Institute of Technology, which hosted the championship, knowingly and willfully violated Title IX.

“This lawsuit against the NCAA isn’t just about competition; it’s a fight for the very essence of women’s sports,” Independent Council on Women’s Sports co-founder Marshi Smith, a collegiate All-American and NCAA national champion swimmer, said in a statement.