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'Women's Bill of Rights' sponsor says Kentucky needs clarity and uniformity on gender and sex

Kentucky Sen. Lindsey Tichenor has filed a bill dubbed a "Women's Bill of Rights." The measure follows in the footsteps on legislation in other states that lay out sex-based definitions and declare the state has an interest in protecting single-sex spaces.

House Bill 336 cites "inconsistencies in judicial rulings and policy initiatives" as putting single-sex spaces — such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and domestic violence shelters — in jeopardy. The measure seeks to restore what it calls "clarity, certainty, and uniformity" in Kentucky laws regarding sex.

Sen. Shelley Funke Frommeyer, a Republican from Alexandria, described the bill as less of a response to any specific event in Kentucky and more of reaction to general "confusion" surrounding sex and gender. She used as an example filling out forms for her daughter to bunk during 4H camp.

"So if you start making that different than a boy or a girl, where are you going to put one of your campers? That seems small, but it's not small when you're trying to put 11, 12, and 13-year-olds in an organized summer camp environment that you want to keep safe and organized," Funke Frommeyer told WUKY.

To that end, the bill lays out definitions of "girls," "boys," "females", "males," "women," and "men." Under the bill, a female is defined as someone who "has, had, or will have through the course of normal development, or would have but for a developmental anomaly, genetic anomaly, or accident, the reproductive system that at some point produces ova."

The bill declares there are two sexes and "sex" refers to "biological sex of either male or female as observed or clinically verified at birth, is objective and fixed; and does not include gender identity or any other terms intended to convey a person's subjective sense of self."

Asked about the bill, Gov. Andy Beshear characterized such measures as a distraction from day-to-day issues facing Kentuckians.

"Every moment that they focus on these culture war type issues, trying to create a new bogeyman for the next election, trying to rile people up, it means they're not doing important work that could benefit every single person," the Democrat said during his weekly Team Kentucky press briefing.

Similar measures have surfaced in West Virginia, Iowa, Georgia, and other states.

Opponents argue that the definitions will lay the groundwork for state governments to no longer legally recognize transgender people, leading to discrimination.

The bill is awaiting a Senate committee assignment.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.