Has the Kansas Legislature Approved “Genital Inspections” of Students to Play Sports?

On April 5, 2023, the Republican-led Legislature in Kansas enacted a law banning transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s tournaments athletics in schools, override the veto by Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat.

The ban would go into effect on July 1, 2023 and would affect schools from K-12 through college. House invoice 2238 (HB 2238), Passed by Republican supermajorities in the Kansas House and Senate, says, “Sports teams or sports designated for women, women, or girls may not be open to male students.”

Critics of what authors called “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act”, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, called it discriminatory and claimed that it “exposed all girls and women to potentially invasive examinations just to be able to participate”. Some social media users, like the Twitter user below, claimed without evidence that the bill would authorize “genital inspections of children to enable children to play sports.”

(via Twitter user @Davis_Hammet)

Total us found a mixture of truth and falsehood in these claims. While Republican lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto to pass legislation banning transgender athletes from participating in female sports, HB 2238 made no categorical or explicit mention of “genital inspections.” how school athletic officials would enforce the law – that is, how they would determine if a student is trans or cisgender.

That was Kelly’s Third veto in three years. With the veto override Kansas joined 19 other states Ban transgender sports students from participating in women’s sports.

In supplementary notes the authors explained the bill:

“Biological sex” means the biological indication of male and female in the context of reproductive potential or ability to reproduce, such as individual psychological or chosen or subjective experience of sex.

However, it also noted, “(D) The bill would not bar students of the female gender from participating in sports teams designated for men, males or boys.”

The language in the legislation was not spelled out how the sports departments of the schools would have to adapt to the new rules. Accordingly Second 3rd of HB 2238:

The Kansas State High School Activities Association issues rules and regulations for its member schools to implement the provisions of this section, and that “the State Board of Regents and the governing body of each municipal university, community college, and technical college shall issue rules and regulations for the postsecondary educational institutions, administered by each such entity to implement the provisions of this section.

The law required the Kansas State High School Activities Association, the State Board of Regents, and the governing body of each city university, community college, and technical college to adopt rules and regulations to implement the law.

Meanwhile, BuzzFeed News reported that Rep. Barb Wasinger, who introduced the bill in early 2023, was asked to explain how School officials would determine whether a student is transgender or cisgender, under the bill’s guidelines. She said that this would happen during a “sports screening” of a student athlete.

Snopes contacted Wasinger’s office for more details.

“Right now, every child enrolled in school must have a valid birth certificate in order to participate,” a spokesman said. “Every child in Kansas who participates in school sports must have a physical examination.”

When asked how the school and university authorities would implement the measure, she said: “That is done by having the birth certificate and the sports certificate.” shortcut to a form — “Pre-participation physical assessment instructions” — by the Kansas State State High School Activities Association. It is unclear how or to what extent the existing evaluation asks students about their gender.

Kelly also urged Republican lawmakers to leave the matter to the federation, saying it was “established to ensure that no one has an unfair advantage on the field.” The Letter of March 17th by the governor criticized the efforts of GOP lawmakers, calling them “political.”

Similar, news week Kansas Republican House Majority Leader Chris Croft said the law “protects the rights of female athletes in the state” and that they “stand proudly with female athletes across Kansas in their pursuit of athletic awards, opportunities and scholarships.”

Snopes has also emailed him for his comments, but we got no answer. We will update this story as and when we do.

national context

The Kansas law emerged amid a wave of debate at various levels of athletics (school-age, collegiate, pro) about trans athletes. On March 24, 2023, World Athletics (WA), the global governing body for athletics, announced New rules Banning transgender women from participating in women’s track and field events.

Republican lawmakers across the country have justified bans on transgender women by claiming these athletes have an unfair advantage over their biologically born female competitors. As of this writing, research on the subject was still ongoing and there was no concrete evidence to confirm or refute the claim.

For example, a 2017 study in sports medicine from Bethany Alice Jones, Jon Arcelus, Walter Pierre Bouman and Emma Haycraft debunked the Advantage Angle, noting:

Currently, there is no direct or consistent research to suggest that transgender women (or men) have an athletic advantage (e.g., cross-sex hormones, gender-confirming surgeries) at any stage in their transition and therefore competitive sports policies that impose restrictions to transgender people need to be considered and possibly revised.

But another study was more mixed on this issue. The “15-31% athletic advantage that trans women demonstrated over their female counterparts before starting gender-affirming hormones decreased with feminizing therapy,” noted a British Journal of Sports Medicine study in 2021. “However, after 1 year of testosterone suppression, which is recommended by World Athletics for women’s events, trans women still had a 9% higher mean running speed.”

Republicans also in the US Congress have pushed for a nationwide ban on the participation of trans people in team sports.

Recently a series of Republicans and Conservatives Their attacks on trans rights escalated across the country.

during a decade-old study by the Pew Research Center showed that “an overwhelming proportion of America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults (92%) say society has become more accepting of them in the past decade,” another Pew study found complex public response: Most Americans preferred to protect trans people from discrimination, but many were “uneasy about the pace of change on transgender issues.”


Kansas ACLU Statement on Recent Anti-Trans Actions of the Kansas Legislature | ACLU of Kansas. 04/05/2023,

Author, No. “A Survey of LGBT Americans.” Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends Project, June 13, 2013,

“GOP urges federal ban of trans people from team sports.” Kaiser Health News, 03/07/2023,

Jones, Bethany Alice, et al. “Sport and Transgender People: A Systematic Review of the Literature Relating to Sport Participation and Competitive Sport Policy.” Sports Medicine, Vol. 47, No. 4, April 2017, pp. 701–16. springer link,

Kalisch, Lil. “A new ban on trans girls and women in school sports could lead to ‘invasive screening’ of student athletes to determine their gender, proponents say.” BuzzFeed news, April 6, 2023,

“Kansas bans transgender athletes from women’s and girls’ sports.” AP-NEWS, April 5, 2023,

Mitchell, Travis. “Americans’ Complex Perspectives on Gender Identity Issues and Transgender People.” Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends Project, June 28, 2022,

Roberts, Timothy A., et al. “Effect of gender-affirming hormones on athletic performance in transwomen and transmen: Implications for sports organizations and legislators.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 55, No. 11, June 2021, pp. 577–83. bjsm.bmj.com,

Staff, KMBC 9. News. “Kansas Legislature Overrides Gov. Kelly’s Veto of Ban on Transgender Sports.” KMBC, April 5, 2023

“Kansas Bill Veto Of Trans Athletes Initiates Override Fight.” AP NEWS, March 17, 2023,

“Why is the GOP escalating attacks on trans rights? Experts say the goal is to get evangelicals voting.” PBS NewsHour, May 20, 2022

Brian Ashcraft

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