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Empowered bigots tried to ban trans athletes for the second time in two months. They failed

Josh Milton April 28, 2021
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Fitness athlete on starting blocks at stadium track preparing for a sprint. Fitness, healthy lifestyle concept

GOP state lawmakers in South Carolina tried – and failed – twice to ban trans teens from school sports. (Stock photograph via Elements Envato)

For the second time in a month, South Carolina lawmakers have rejected a bill that would have banned trans girls from competing in high school sports.

In a narrow vote, the state’s House Judiciary Committee voted 13-11 against the bill, H4153. It was sponsored by 55 Republicans and two Democrats.

The very same committee had considered a near-identical proposal last month, rejecting it after Republicans failed to shore up enough support to even have a recorded vote.

It returned to the House once more in April with some minor tweaks to its language. Both editions of the measure were called the “Save Women’s Sports Act”.

Save from what, exactly? Republicans have struggled to answer, instead relying on tired tropes about trans athletes that activists say have little basis in reality and failing to prove even a shred of evidence to support their claims.

“I think there’s a lot of uneasiness with this bill because what we’re trying to do is create a solution for a problem that does not exist,” said Republican representative Beth Bernstein during the meeting, The Post and Courier reported.

Just twice in the last five years has South Carolina’s high school sports regulator granted a waiver for a trans athlete to compete.

South Carolina says trans teens are not causing the ‘decline of civilisation’

Indeed, political analysts say that measures restraining what sports trans teens can compete in, or the healthcare they have access to, are nothing more than Republicans manufacturing outrage to rebuild post-Trump.

And it’s working. There are 250 anti-LGBT+ bills are crawling through state legislator dockets, according to a tally by the Human Rights Campaign – 124 bills target trans people specifically.

Activists saw this coming. After Joe Biden won the presidential election, advocacy groups braced for a retaliatory “backlash” on a state level by Republicans, bristling at the thought of the president’s pro-LGBT+ agenda.

Trans sports bans were bulldozed into law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota and most recently Alabama.

West Virginia and Montana are inching closer to becoming states number six and seven, and similar bills are moving quickly in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

Governors in North Dakota and Kansas have been forced to veto their bans and Pennsylvania’s governor has vowed to do the same. In Connecticut, a top federal judge struck down a lawsuit that sought to ban trans athletes.

Activists and even members of the GOP have questioned the intensity of this paralysing wave of anti-LGBT+ legislation.

As one critic of South Carolina’s ban, Republican Micah Caskey, said: “I can find no urgency with respect to this issue.

“That flavours all of my approach to this because we are not standing on the precipice of the decline of civilization.”

Related topics: transgender athletes

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