Letters: Bill contradicts Montana GOP push for ‘individual liberty’

I wish to urge our legislators vote no on HB 112, which would require sports teams to be named based on biological sex. As ASMSU’s Designated Lobbyist, it is my duty to explain why this bill is neither wanted nor needed at MSU.

This session, lawmakers emphasized the importance of limited government and individual liberty. HB 112 is an example of government interfering unnecessarily in the lives of individuals and deviating from these values.

The ASMSU Discrimination Statement ensures that no one, regardless of status, including sex, gender identity and genetic information, is excluded from ASMSU programs, activities and services. This policy was voted on overwhelmingly by the student body, indicating that MSU students want the campus to be a safe and inclusive space. The Bozeman Non-Discrimination Ordinance also protects LGBTQ+ people in public spaces. At Bozeman and MSU, we strive to be inclusive and accepting members of our LGBTQ+ community.

Campus climate surveys indicated that 10% of MSU’s student body (approximately 1,700 students) identify as LGBTQ+. Each semester, hundreds of students, employees, and faculty choose to participate in Safe Zone training, a course designed to educate on LGBTQ+ issues. This attitude at MSU is part of the reason why in June 2020, MSU was named the best university in Montana for LGBTQ+ students.

The title of this bill – the “Saving Women’s Sport Act” – is also rhetorically manipulative, suggesting that women’s sports need to be “saved” without explaining why such a “rescue” is necessary in first place. I interviewed many student athletes and found that cis female athletes did not view trans female athletes as a threat to their sport, confirming that HB-112 is neither wanted nor needed.

I strongly urge our legislators in Helena to vote no on HB 112.