The Kentucky Senate approved Wednesday a bill to prohibit older transgender girls participating in school sports that are compatible with their gender identity.

After an emotional plea by a lawmaker, who shared her family story and warned that the bill was hurtful because it “excludes these children”, the 27-8 vote was taken.

“What we need is understanding and grace,” stated Democratic Senator Karen Berg, mother of a transgender child.

The House will be next in line for the bill, which is designed to prevent older transgender girls playing on girls’ sports teams. Republicans hold supermajorities both in the House and Senate.

Kentucky, if the measure becomes law, would join the growing number Republican-dominated states that have adopted such a ban on transgender women or girls. However, the bans have been challenged in many states as violating federal law.

Kentucky senators amended Wednesday’s bill to allow elementary school children to join teams that are gender-matched.

Republican Senator Robby Mills is the bill’s main sponsor. He said that it would allow girls to compete against “biological” females.

Mills stated Wednesday that it would be a crushing experience for a young lady who has spent her entire high school athletic career training to compete against a biological man in a state tournament, or the state finals.

Mills stated that the bill would determine a student’s gender based on the “biological sexuality” indicated on their certified birth certificate.

Republican Senator Max Wise supported the bill and said that he would have preferred the bill to be more broadened to include college athletics in Kentucky.

Opponents claim that the restrictions in the bill are not constitutional.

Berg, a senator, spoke about her experiences as a mother to a transgender boy. Berg said that her son told her when he came out that he was the same child.

Berg stated, “That was how my child explained it to me that he hadn’t changed.” He was simply asking for the world to see him as he saw himself. Imagine how it feels to walk through the streets of the world every day and not be recognized for who you are inside.

She said that the bill could prohibit transgender girls from participating in middle school teams that are compatible with their gender identity.

She said, “But it’s more important that they feel excluded on purpose.” These children are being excluded. It hurts their hearts. It hurts their parents souls.”

Opponents claimed the bill targets a problem that does not exist in Kentucky, but it would cause a costly court battle if it is made law.

Democratic Senator David Yates stated, “We know that if we pass it, it will be litigated.” Is this fiscally responsible? … Do we need to pass this legislation before there is a problem?

Mills stated that the bill was a reflection of concerns expressed by parents throughout the state. Mills said that the bill “thinks ahead” and will prevent older girls from unfairly competing with biological males.