During an interview Thursday with Alpha News, state Rep. Eric Lucero responded to inaccurate claims that a bill he introduced seeks to “criminalize” transgender athletes.
“Transgender student-athletes could face criminal penalties in new proposed bill,” said a headline Tuesday in a KSTP story, which featured comments from an anonymous transgender athlete.
“For us to sit here and criminalize those who are trying to figure out who they are, it’s ridiculous,” the student told KSTP.
Jess Braverman, legal director for Gender Justice, used similar language, claiming Lucero’s legislation would be “the first bill that criminalizes children for playing sports.”
The story was then picked up by The Hill’s Jordan Williams, who said the bill “would result in criminal charges for transgender athletes.”
In reality, transgender girls (biological males) who compete in girls’ sports would be guilty of a petty misdemeanor under Lucero’s bill, which is not a crime in the state of Minnesota.
“Under Minnesota statute, a petty misdemeanor is not a crime. It’s not a criminal violation. It is a violation, but it is not considered a criminal violation,” Lucero told Alpha News. “The maximum penalty for a petty misdemeanor is a $300 fine. No jail time. So it’s not considered a criminal offense.”
Many traffic infractions are considered petty misdemeanors and “payable offenses,” meaning the guilty party doesn’t have to make a court appearance.
“It’s a clear demonstration of unfairness in the arena of sports. It’s unfair to women,” Lucero said of biological males competing in female athletics.
He called it an “objective truth” demonstrated by science that the “male body has more muscle strength,” therefore providing men with an inherent competitive advantage.
A second aspect of his proposal would make male students who use female changing facilities and bathrooms guilty of a misdemeanor. The harsher penalty is due to the “safety and security” risks associated with the issue, Lucero said.
“It threatens the safety of women when men are using women’s facilities,” he told Alpha News. “The vast majority of Minnesotans — they are concerned with the safety and security and the risks associated with males entering into female rooms where they may be in a state of undress.”
A similar bill was introduced in the Minnesota Senate by Sen. Carrie Ruud, but her proposal doesn’t come with any penalties and only deals with athletics.
‘Sticking to the science’
Lucero said he doesn’t have much confidence that the Democratic-controlled House will “recognize objective science” by giving his bill a committee hearing.
The Republican from Dayton encouraged Minnesotans who might have reservations about his bill to “look at the facts, look at the science.”
“For those who are confused, if there are boys and males that mistakenly believe themselves to be girls and females, my heart does go out to them. It’s not that I’m not compassionate, but it’s that we also have science. The truth is: there are people that are confused but it cannot cause a risk to safety, nor should it allow for men to continue to win first place in our sports,” Lucero added.
He said he does “not want to wait for some tragedy to happen” before passing legislation, again emphasizing the “significant safety and security risk” posed by allowing males to use facilities “where a female may be in a state of undress.”
“Humanity has recognized male and female for thousands of years. It is not unconstitutional. It is not despicable. It is none of those characterizations to simply recognize objective truth, which is science,” Lucero concluded. “Science is not a matter of your belief system. It’s not a matter of what your feelings are. It’s a matter of my genes. My chromosomes designate, they dictate, that I am male or female.”