Here are the states banning transgender athletes in women’s sports and the states considering it


Trans pride flags flutter in the wind at a gathering to celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2017 at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles, California.

(NewsNation Now) — Lawmakers in several states have introduced bills this year that would ban transgender women and girls from competing on women’s sports teams.

In the first five months of 2021 alone, five governors signed bills banning transgender individuals from sports in some capacity.

There’s no authoritative count of how many trans athletes have competed recently in high school or college sports. Neither the NCAA nor most state high school athletic associations collect that data.

Transgender adults make up a small portion of the U.S. population, about 1.4 million, according to the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law that specializes in research on LGBTQ issues.

The potential bills are at odds with the current administration. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office banning discrimination based on gender. Biden also reversed a Trump administration ban that largely barred transgender individuals from serving in the military.

Opponents say trans women have advantages gained in male puberty that are not sufficiently reduced by hormone treatment.

LGBTQ advocates and other opponents have called such a ban discriminatory, saying it could harm transgender children’s mental health and would run afoul of federal anti-discrimination laws. The NCAA came out in support of transgender athletes last month, saying it won’t hold championship events in places that aren’t “free of discrimination.”

Here are where some of the bills currently stand as states’ legislative sessions come to a close this summer:


Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation restricting transgender students from participating in K-12 sports.


Arkansas banned transgender athletes from joining female sports teams, becoming one of the first few states to do so. Arkansas became the first state to pass a bill banning gender-affirming medical treatment for trans youth.


Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning transgender girls and women from playing on public school teams intended for athletes assigned female at birth. Under the bill, a transgender student-athlete would have to affirm her biological sex by supplying proof such as a birth certificate. The bill also would allow another student to sue if a school allows a transgender girl or woman to play on a team intended for biological females.


The bill coined the “Save Girls Sports Act” is still in the committee phases of amendments. It is not expected to pass this session.


Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” in March 2020. Since then, the bill has been at the center of multiple lawsuits. A federal judge previously struck the law down.


Two bills about the transgender sports ban have been introduced in Iowa committees this spring. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has previously signaled her support for the legislation.


Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed a Republican bill banning transgender girls from participating in school sports in April.


A proposal to ban transgender athletes has advanced in the Senate. Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, opposes the bill and is expected to veto it if the proposal reaches his desk.


Mississippi banned transgender athletes from competing on girls’ or women’s sports teams in March. The ban will become enforced July 1.


A bill is advancing in the Missouri House that would ban transgender athletes. Missouri’s current public high school sports rules prohibit transgender girls from competing on girl’s teams unless they’re undergoing hormone therapy.


A bill banning transgender youth from participating in sports passed both the Montana House and Senate. Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill in May.

North Carolina

House Bill 358, or “Save Women’s Sports Act,” was set aside for the session, but is expected to be taken up next year.

North Dakota

House Bill 1298 passed in both the state House and Senate but Republican Gov. Doug Burgum vetoed the bill. Burgum said North Dakota already had rules in place to guarantee fairness in sports, and that in any case, no transgender girl had ever tried to play girls’ sports in the state.


Senate Bill 2, the “Save Women’s Sports Act”, is still under consideration for the session.

South Dakota

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued two executive orders to limit participation in women’s and girls’ school sports teams to only people assigned female at birth.


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a law in May banning transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports. According to the bill, athletes would be required to prove that their sex matches what is listed on the student’s “original” birth certificate in order to participate in public school sports in middle and high schools. If a birth certificate is unavailable, then the parents must provide another form of evidence “indicating the student’s sex at the time of birth.”


Senate Bill 29 was passed in the Texas Senate. It missed the deadline to be passed.

West Virginia

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed a bill in April that bans transgender athletes from competing in female sports in middle and high schools and colleges.

Other states including Kentucky, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania have had bills proposed but they are not expected to advance. Bills in New Mexico and News Hampshire failed before they could be debated.

This story will be updated as bills continue through the legislative process.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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