Mississippi officially bans trans athletes from competing as their correct gender
Mississippi’s Republican governor has signed a discriminatory bill to ban transgender athletes from competing on sports teams that match their gender.
Governor Tate Reeves, who previously accused Biden of “pushing children into transgenderism”, officially signed the bill on Thursday (11 March).
“I will sign our bill to protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities,” he tweeted last week.
“It’s crazy we have to address it, but the Biden EO [executive order] forced the issue. Adults? That’s on them. But the push for kids to adopt transgenderism is just wrong.”
Despite Reeves’ claims, legislators pushing the bill gave no evidence of any transgender athletes competing in Mississippi schools or universities.
Legal advocates have previously noted that such bills aren’t actually being requested by constituents, but are driven by national far-right organisations “attempting to sow fear and hate” against the transgender community.
Chase Strangio, ACLU deputy director for transgender justice, said the Mississippi bill “is very vague and seemingly unenforceable” and isn’t really about sport at all.
“Unfortunately, there is already rampant discrimination against trans youth in Mississippi, which means people are already driven out of sport,” he told AP.
“Governor Reeves’ statement makes clear that this isn’t about sports at all, this is about attacking trans youth and stopping kids from being trans — a dangerous project with deadly consequences.”
Commenting on Twitter, Strangio went on to question the governor’s priorities in signing the bill as the state’s capital city enters its fourth week of a water crisis.
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Gov. Reeves of Mississippi has signed the bill intended to target trans girls in sports. It will open the door to discrimination against all athletes in women’s and girls’ sports. His glee in signing the bill while Jackson is without water is the exact perversity of this moment.
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) March 11, 2021
The bill is set to become law on 1 July, making Mississippi the first state to enact such a ban this year.
Many others are expected to follow in its footsteps thanks to a Republican-led “legislative boom” that has seen at least 25 states introduce over 60 bills targeting trans children.
In total, more anti-trans bills were introduced in the first three months of 2021 than any other year so far.