Republican Legislatures Are Trying To Ban Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports

From Huffington Post:

The bills are obvious attempts to restrict LGBTQ rights under the guise of solving phony concerns about athletic advantage.

By Travis Waldron

Republican state legislatures in more than a dozen states are advancing bills that would bar transgender women and girls from participating in women’s and girls sports at the youth, high school and collegiate levels. It’s an aggressive effort to strip rights from LGBTQ people on the state level that runs counter to President Joe Biden’s attempts to advance equality from the White House.

GOP-controlled legislative chambers in Mississippi, Utah, Montana and North Dakota have all approved legislation this year to prohibit transgender students from competing in sports that match their gender identity.

Republican lawmakers have introduced similar bills  in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Hampshire, South DakotaTexas and Tennessee, where Republican Gov. Bill Lee last week declared that trans athletes would “destroy women’s sports” if they are allowed to compete. Several of those bills have already advanced through legislative committees, although others have already run into heated opposition that may succeed in thwarting them, and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) has said that he would not sign the bill that passed the state House there.

The conservative push follows the first-in-the-nation passage of a law barring trans athletes from girls and women’s sports in Idaho last year.

Equality advocates say the bills are actually a next, desperate attempt to restrict LGBTQ rights after other efforts ― including supposed “religious freedom” laws like the one Indiana approved in 2015 and so-called “bathroom bills,” which drew widespread opposition after North Carolina’s legislature passed HB 2 in 2016 ― failed to spread the way conservatives hoped. Like those proposals, which conservatives painted as efforts to stop businesses from having to serve gay couples or prevent trans people from attacking cisgender women in bathrooms, the bills to prevent trans girls and women from dominating women’s sports are a discriminatory solution in search of a problem, said Kate Oakley, the state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign.

“It’s not about any one of these issues actually being itself a real problem,” Oakley said. “They keep trying to find the thing that is going to make people afraid. And this is where they’ve settled, last year and this year, on these anti-trans bills that are targeting youth in particular.”

Republicans have framed these bills as an attempt to protect women’s sports and Title IX, the federal law that guarantees equal access to education and scholastic sports for women and girls. And proponents of the bills have pointed to occasional victories by transgender girls and women competing against cisgender opponents as proof that trans athletes pose a threat to women’s sports. But there is no obvious evidence supporting their claims.

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