Lawmakers in Wisconsin and Georgia are the latest to propose bills that would prevent transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports, while The Associated Press reported that the sponsors of similar bills across the nation have trouble citing local examples of what they are seeking to ban.
More than 20 states have introduced bills that would require individuals to compete in sports that align with their birth gender. Wisconsin’s bill includes sports from elementary school through college, while Senate Bill 266 that passed through Georgia’s Senate Education and Youth Committee would ban people born as males from competing in girls’ sports at public schools — or private schools that play against public schools.
“Trans girls are girls and as such should be allowed to participate in girls sports, and the title of this bill being ‘Save Girls Sports’ is offensive and disgusting,” said Caroline Holko, an opponent of the bill who lost a race in the House of Representatives last year, according to The Associated Press. “I can guarantee you that it will be litigated and it will end with legal discrimination against trans girls being allowed.”
Many bills across the United States stem from conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom.
“It just takes a short period of time for women’s sports to be decimated,” Matt Sharp, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, said during Wednesday’s hearing in Georgia. “It just shows we need to act to do this before girls lose out on opportunities before records are broken, before they lose out on a spot on the podium.”
According to Madison.com, Wisconsin executive director Megin McDonell said that just the introduction of the bills is damaging to transgender youth, whether or not the bills become law.
“It sends a really harmful message that we even have to have these conversations, and it makes, I think, kids feel like their identities aren’t legitimate or real or valued,” said McDonell, the parent of a transgender teen.
Wisconsin governor Tony Evers tweeted Tuesday, “My message to Wisconsin’s transgender kids and students today is simple: I see you. You are welcome, you are wanted, and you belong.”
“I think if the governor really cares about women, he absolutely should advance this legislation and there should be no reason why it doesn’t go anywhere, unless he’s a sexist," said Rep. Barb Dittrich, lead Assembly author of the measures.
The AP reportedly reached out to two dozen state lawmakers sponsoring these measures, finding only a few times it’s been an issue. South Carolina Rep. Ashley Trantham said she isn’t aware of any transgender athletes in the state, but the ban is necessary because “the next generation of female athletes in South Carolina may not have a chance to excel.”
The main example across the nation is a Connecticut lawsuit that stemmed from two transgender sprinters, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, combining to win 15 state track championships between 2017 and 2019.
Related content: US Ed Dept: Conn. Transgender Policy Violates Girls’ Rights
Joe Biden’s administration recently withdrew federal support from the lawsuit, which was seeking to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls’ high school sports. Idaho was the first state to sign a bill restricting transgender athletes into law, but a federal judge put the law on hold while the American Civil Liberties Union’s legal challenge proceeds.
Related content: Feds Pull Support from Lawsuit Limiting Trans Athletes