Opinion Submission by Janelle Crossley
On April 20, 2022, Jill Bartoli and I met with Representative Barb Gleim to discuss issues affecting the 199th District of Cumberland County, Pa. One topic was HB972, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” sponsored by her and recently passed in the Pa. House of Representatives. As I see it, HB972 attacks our defenseless transgender kids, their families, and ALL women.
I opened with the question, “What prompted you to reach into dead space and introduce such legislation? Was it to get at me?” (I was her opponent in 2022 and the thought had crossed my mind.) She responded, “No, not at all, I would never do that to you.” However, when she mentioned that she played sports when she was young, and girls shouldn’t have to compete with “transgender girls”. “Since Barb knows protecting trans kids is very important to me, I wasn’t sold”.
She asked, “How many women in Pa. do you think support my legislation?” Then, quoting a survey from Rasmussen (a subsidiary of the American Legislative Exchange Council, founded by the Koch brothers and one of the largest GOP, far-right organizations around), she said “75 percent.” We asked for a copy of the survey, but she could not produce it.
Our impression was that Representative Gleim is representing only the far-right of her constituents and thus had sponsored a bill based on fake or partisan research designed to mislead. Her single example of a competition problem in Pa. was Lia Thomas, the transgender woman swimmer recently in the news. At times, it was like talking to a brick wall.
While it was not our expectation to have Ms. Gleim reconsider her sponsorship of HB972, we are glad to have met with her. We hope to have loosened some of the mortar in her “brick wall.” At the very least, we DO expect a person who accepted their legislative position for the 199th District to represent ALL her constituents, not just those she chooses. We certainly do not expect her to push a bill created solely to divide and misinform. HB972 (SB 1191) offers a solution to a problem that does not exist in Pennsylvania. Call your Pa. Senators today and ask them to vote NO on HB972/SB1191, the “Fairness to None Act.”