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How Arizona's Transgender Athlete Ban Fits Into The National Conversation

State lawmakers voted along party lines last week to pass a ban on transgender students athletes from competing in girls sports. It’s a controversial bill that’s making national headlines.

Proponents of it, like Cathi Herrod with the Center for Arizona Policy, say it’s a necessary measure to — as the bill is titled — "Save Women’s Sports." She told The Show last week that this is about fundamental fairness in sports.

"When you look at high school sports, volleyball nets for girls are more than 7 inches lower than for boys," Herrod said. "The high school shot put standard weight for boys is 36% heavier for boys than for girls. The hurdle height for high school girls 100 meter is 33 inches — for boys 39 inches. Golf tees we know are shorter for females than for males. The girls' basketball is slightly smaller than that for a male.

"So we see that for a long time in sports we have acknowledged differences between males and females in how the sports are regulated, in the kind of statistics, the size of the equipment that we just mentioned. So this is about just let's keep things as girls' sports and boys' sports."

Arizona is not the only state that’s considering laws like this, and sporting bodies from high school to pros are debating what’s fair.

Our next guest has written about these issues and how they’re being debated on the national — and international stage. Journalist and author Christie Aschwanden is an Ideas columnist at Wired magazine. The Show spoke with her more about how Arizona’s bill fits into this broader national debate.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.