Governors sign, consider legislation to protect women’s sports

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed the first state bill in the U.S. this year to ban transgender athletes from competing on female sports teams on Thursday, March 11, 2021, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

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UPDATED 3:23 PM PT – Sunday, March 14, 2021

In response to Joe Biden’s executive order to allow transgender athletes to compete with the gender of their choice, state officials nationwide are now taking matters into their own hands to protect women’s sports.

This week in Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed a bill to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls or women’s sports teams. The move came after the state Senate and House swiftly passed the bill.

Reeves said it’s important to protect young girls from competing with biological males for athletic opportunities. He also called out Joe Biden’s executive order as “just wrong.” The legislation applies to K-12 schools, colleges and universities. It will take effect July 1.

As of now, over a dozen states have now created their own related bills to separate women’s and men’s sports.

In the South, Georgia and Alabama are advancing bills that would ban athletes from competing with genders different from their birth certificate.

Other states include Utah, Michigan and North Dakota. Supporters of these bills have said athletic organizations are denying equal opportunities to all of their athletes, especially women.

“Too many athletic leagues and policy makers are giving in to an ideology that simply ignores biological reality and denies equal opportunities to women,” Roger Brooks, senior council with the Alliance Defending Freedom said.

The Montana State Legislature introduced the Save Women’s Sports Act, which will head to the state Senate this week.

In Texas, Congress members introduced a similar bill called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. Texas also recently filed a bill that would make it a crime for doctors and mental health providers to give minors puberty blockers, gender conforming surgeries or hormone therapies.

The governor of Tennessee, who passed similar legislation for his own state, said transgender athletes competing with women could even take opportunities away.

“Transgenders participating in women’s sports, will destroy women’s sports,” Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tenn.) stated. “It will ruin the opportunity for girls to earn scholarships, it will put a glass ceiling back over women that hasn’t been there.”

Critics argued language in the bills could be considered discriminatory, and that there are relatively few cases of transgender athletes causing any issues in sports. However, the bills have garnered support from several lawmakers across the country looking to overturn just one of Biden’s many controversial executive orders.

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