Lawmakers debate new laws limiting transgender girls in sports


(NewsNation Now) — The debate surrounding transgender girls participating in school sports continues to play out in the national spotlight.

In North Dakota today, the state Senate amended a bill to ban transgender girls from playing high school sports. Lawmakers passed the amendment, which allows for more study on the issue.

And in South Dakota, Republican governor Kristi Noem vetoed a similar bill after members of the house overwhelmingly voted against her proposed changes which included excluding college sports from the measure.

Members of the state House discussed a potential override all day, which required a two-thirds majority vote from both chambers. The override failed by two votes, and both the House and Senate adjourned for the 2021 legislative session.

Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas just put laws on the books banning transgender women from competing in women’s sports in the last two weeks.

Lawmakers in more than a dozen states legislatures are working on bills that target transgender students.

People in favor of transgender athlete bans say it would be unfair to have females compete against transgender females. Those against the bans say transgender youth want to be part of a team where they feel like they belong.

Debbie Jackson described feeling, “anger, sadness, frustration, and exhaustion” now that lawmakers are proposing measures that could prevent trans teens, like her daughter Avery, from competing in high school sports.

“Trans kids have not taken over girls sports. Boys are not pretending to be girls to participate in sports,” added Jackson.

Transgender advocates call the effort in Kansas and Missouri a “manufactured crisis” to drum up votes.

Missouri State Representative Chuck Basye is behind a proposal that would require transgender students to play sports on the team that reflects the sex on their birth certificate.

“I have gotten dozens of phone calls and emails, from mainly mothers, that are very concerned about this happening to their daughter,” explained Basye.

Earlier this month, a Missouri dad’s testimony went viral after he made an emotional plea to lawmakers asking them to think about the emotional ramifications of the law.

“I need you to understand, that this language, if it becomes law, will have real effects on real people. It will affect my daughter. It will mean she cannot play on the girl’s volleyball team or dance squad or tennis team. I ask you please don’t take that away from my daughter or the countless others like her who are out there. Let them have their childhoods. Let them be who they are,” said Brandon Boulware.

Republican governors in both Mississippi and Arkansas signed transgender sports bans this year.

Today things took a turn in South Dakota when Gov. Kristi Noem vetoed a similar bill after members of the House overwhelmingly voted against her proposed changes.

She had been previously a vocal advocate for the new law, but requested the changes after facing some scrutiny.

Less than an hour after the law was vetoed, the governor signed two executive orders she said “would protect fairness in girls’ and women’s sports at the K-12 and collegiate levels.”

Noem plans to schedule a special legislative session in late May or early June to address further legislation.

Meanwhile, Olympic gold medalist and National Women’s Soccer League star Megan Rapinoe wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post on the topic. In it, she called these bills some of the most intense political assault on LGBTQ people in recent years, adding they try to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

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