August 16, 2023
Contact: Laura Macklem
[email protected]


Women’s rights under Title IX were upheld today, after the General Assembly voted to override Governor Cooper’s veto of the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” House Bill 574. The bill protects middle, high school and college females from being forced to play against trans identifying biological males in sports. North Carolina joined 21 other states that have passed laws to protect female athletes from transgender players.

“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities. Today, North Carolina has joined the other 21 states with similar laws protecting female athletes.  Girls deserve equal opportunities to experience the thrill of victory, and to be rewarded for their commitment and sacrifices in achieving athletic excellence. Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports disadvantages girls and destroys their athletic opportunities. It was heartbreaking to hear Riley Gaines tearfully testify about the years of training and hard work that went down the drain when she was forced to race against a biological male swimmer. To add insult to injury, Riley and all the other female swimmers at the NCAA championship last year suffered the degradation of having to undress in front of a fully intact biological male who paraded around the locker room exposing himself,” said NC Values Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald.

“Bodies play sports, not identities, and this bill ensures North Carolina girls and women won’t be benched in their own sports and can train confidently knowing they have a safe and level playing field. The people of North Carolina can rest assured their daughters will not have to worry about injuries or unfair competition in sports, or about their daughters being exposed by men in their locker rooms.”

HB 574 requires that sports teams in middle school, high school, and college be designated by biological sex as male, female, or coed, and that athletic teams designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex. There is broad statewide and national support for legislation protecting women’s sports. NC Values and NC Faith & Freedom Coalition commissioned a statewide poll in January 2023, and found over 70% of North Carolinians believe biological males should not be permitted on female sports teams. A new nationwide Gallup Poll revealed 69% of Americans also agree, showing a 7% increase since 2021.

NC Values Coalition has been advocating for this legislation for three years, pointing out the biological advantages males have over females, and this session brought Riley Gaines and Payton McNabb to testify at legislative hearings. Gaines was cheated out of a championship title by biological male William “Lia” Thomas at the NCAA swimming championships last year. McNabb was a high school volleyball player in Cherokee, North Carolina who was injured when a trans identifying biological male volleyball player spiked a ball in her face causing long-term neurological issues. Former UNC Women’s Basketball Coach Sylvia Hatchell who is an Olympic Gold-medalist, NCAA Championship Coach, Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, also gave compelling testimony about the unfair advantages males have over females in sports and how Title IX’s purpose is totally upended by allowing males to compete on female sports teams. Idaho House of Representatives member Barbara Ehardt, who is a four-time NCAA Division 1 Women’s basketball coach, also testified about the State of Idaho’s being the first in the nation to protect a level playing field for girls in sports by enacting similar legislation. Asheville world elite cyclist Evie Edwards testified that, even though she is a liberal Democrat, she believes that without a separation of the sexes in sports, females will find themselves excluded from their own sports rather than celebrated in them.

“I want to thank Reps. Jennifer Balkcom, Gillespie, Pare, Baker, and Senators Corbin, Krawiec and Sawyer for sponsoring the bill, and thank the other legislators who voted to uphold fairness and safety in women’s sports, despite the Governor’s veto.”