Politics

States Consider Laws To Ban Transgender Girls From Women’s Sport

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Mississippi, Tennessee and Utah are considering laws that would ban transgender girls from competing in women’s sport because critics say they have an unfair advantage.

Under a bill that advanced in the Republican-controlled Mississippi Senate late Thursday night, transgender athletes would be banned from competing in girls’ or women’s sports in the state’s schools and universities.

Many critics have objected to transgender women competing in female sports, arguing that they have an unfair advantage because they typically have greater strength, bone mass, and muscle volume.

Studies have shown that the women often retain their physical advantages inherited from birth, even if they tak testosterone-lowering medication.

Speaking last week during a Senate committee hearing, Utah Senator Mitt Romney said he felt transgender girls should not participate in girl’s sport.

‘I’ve got pictures of my eight granddaughters amongst grandsons behind me,’ Romney said. ‘They shouldn’t be competing with people who are physiologically in an entirely different category.

‘I think boys should be competing with boys and girls should be competing with (girls) on the athletic field.’

However there is often fierce debate over the subject, and President Joe Biden signed an executive order on January 20 – the day he took office – that bans discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere.

And LGBTQ rights organisations have accused the proposed bans of being attempts to ‘sow hate’ and say they are driven by the ‘far right’.

Sports scholarships gained from high school sports often give students free tuition to university, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year.

In Mississippi, Republican Sen. Angela Hill of Picayune said: ‘I’ve had numerous coaches across the state call me and believe that they feel there’s a need for a policy in Mississippi because they are beginning to have some concerns of having to deal with this,’ said the bill’s sponsor.’

No senator asked whether any transgender athletes are currently competing in Mississippi, and Hill did not volunteer such information. The bill will go to the Republican-controlled House for more work in coming weeks.

Mississippi is one of a dozen states with lawmakers proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for transgender minors this year.

Mississippi Republican governor Tate Reeves, the father of three daughters, tweeted on February 4: ‘I am so disappointed over President Biden’s actions to force young girls like them to compete with biological males for access to athletics.’

Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, condemned anti-transgender bills in Mississippi and other states.

‘These bills are not addressing any real problem, and they´re not being requested by constituents,’ Human Rights Campaign said in a statement Wednesday.

‘Rather, this effort is being driven by national far-right organisations attempting to sow fear and hate.’

In Utah, Senator Mike Lee introduced a bill with 13 other Republican colleagues that would also ban transgender girls from playing women’s sport at schools.

Less said the bill would protect ‘opportunities of girls throughout America to athletically compete against other girls.’

Supporters of bills such as the one in Mississippi argue that transgender girls, because they were born male, are naturally stronger, faster and bigger than those born female.

Opponents say such proposals violate not only Title IX of federal education law prohibiting sex discrimination, but also rulings by the U. S. Supreme Court and 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In Tennessee, a day after the governor said transgender athletes would ‘destroy women’s sports,’ Senate GOP leaders on Thursday offered tepid support for legislation that would ban them from participating in girls’ sports.

‘I think we need to adequately review the issue in committee and if it’s not occurring in Tennessee… (Read more)

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