- Mississippi voted on Thursday to ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports.
- The state’s Senate passed the bill in a 34-9 vote with very little prior discussion.
- The bill comes as legislators across the country are trying to impose restrictions on trans youth.
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Mississippi voted on Thursday to ban young transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports at state schools and universities, The Associated Press reported.
The state’s Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, passed the bill in a 34-9 vote with very little prior discussion, AP reported.
The bill will now be voted on in the Mississippi House of Representatives, where Republicans also hold the majority.
“I’ve had numerous coaches across the state call me and believe that they feel there’s a need for a policy in Mississippi because they are beginning to have some concerns of having to deal with this,” the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Angela Hill, told her her colleagues before the vote, according to AP.
Mississippi is not the first state to pass legislation in relation to transgender rights this year.
Within the first two weeks of 2021, lawmakers in at least 14 states, including Montana and North Dakota, proposed bills that would restrict the freedoms of LGBTQ residents, according to LGBTQ advocacy group Freedom For All Americans. Most of these bills impact young trans people in athletics.
Those in favour of the restrictions argue that having athletes who are born male compete among women gives them an unfair advantage. Meanwhile, those against them say restrictions are discriminatory, harmful, and transphobic.
“All this bill does is put transgender youth at risk of bullying, exclusion, and increased danger while discrimination and violence against transgender people is at a record high in this country,” the Human Rights Campaign Mississippi’s state director, Rob Hill said, according to CNN.
“If legislators would simply listen to medical experts and transgender athletes, they might know that transitioning for the sake of competitive advantage is simply unrealistic. So is the idea that transgender athletes even gain a supposed advantage in the first place,” Hill added.
Last month, President Joe Biden signed an executive order banning discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in school sports, the workplace, and other settings.
“Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love,” the order read.
In April last year, Idaho became the first state to ban trans athletes from competing in women’s sports. The bill claimed that the benefits of natural testosterone cannot be diminished by hormone treatments and that having sex-specific teams promotes sex equality.
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