Transgender Women Restricted From Sports in Certain States

States Have Begun Barring Trans Women From State Wide Sports

Sage Armstrong, Staff

On Thursday, March 11, the governor of Mississippi Tate Reeves signed a bill that removes transgender women and girls from competing in women’s sports. Idaho pushed this bill through last year and it has recently been considered by lawmakers in two dozen other states.


Governor Reeves then took to Twitter with this statement: “I proudly signed the Mississippi Fairness Act to ensure young girls are not forced to compete against biological males,” according to The New York Times


The bill is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2021, unless it is challenged in court. The bill would force schools and universities to have athletes compete according to their sex assigned at birth rather than gender identity.


“Governor Reeves signing this bill is incredibly disappointing and dangerous; the collateral consequences on transgender youth are significant,” Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, told The New York Times in a phone interview. He continued with “This is not an abstract principle. When you tell a transgender child or teenager that their identity is in their heads — that it’s imaginative, it’s not real — it has significant collateral consequences.”


A letter that was signed by 545 athletes and at least 80 universities stated “You have been silent in the face of hateful legislation in states that are slated to host championships, even though those states are close to passing anti-transgender legislation,” 


Two women on the track and field team at Washington University in St. Louis, Aliya Schenck and Alana Bojar, drafted the letter with help from two LGBTQ advocacy groups.


“Queer athletes and trans athletes already have to deal with so much,” Schenck said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “And then to be put in a situation where they’re trying to enjoy maybe the one thing that they can really just express themselves through — their sport — and just go to practice and forget about everything else they’re dealing with, and suddenly that is also taken away from them.”


The N.C.A.A. changed its process for selecting championship hosts in 2016, requiring the host to “provide a statement certifying its ability to deliver and maintain an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination and respects the dignity of all persons.”


Yet under N.C.A.A. guidelines, transgender athletes are still permitted to compete for college teams with some restrictions.