West Virginia Gov. signs transgender athlete ban

Northeast

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice during his briefing on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (Courtesy: Gov. Jim Justice)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTRF) — West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has signed a bill that bans transgender athletes from competing in female sports in middle and high schools and colleges. The bill was among 38 signed by the Republican governor on Wednesday.

NewsNation affiliate WTRF reports it narrowly passed the state Senate, which had added the college component, before being overwhelmingly approved in the House of Delegates. Justice said earlier this week that he would proudly sign the transgender bill despite warnings from some lawmakers that the NCAA could retaliate and decide not to hold college tournaments in the state.

The law bans transgender athletes from participating in school sports that don’t match their gender identity. It says a birth certificate would be required upon admission to public school to confirm a student’s sex at birth.

Two weeks ago, Governor Justice said, “Personally I feel that absolutely, I just can’t get through my head that it is the right thing for us at a middle school level or a high school level in our state for me to not support the bill.”

This makes Justice the latest governor in the US to allow such a bill to go into action. Similar laws have gone into effect in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Arkansas’ state legislature overrode their governor’s veto to enact a similar law.

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