South Carolina lawmakers are the latest to pass legislation prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports in public schools and universities.
Despite over 1,000 amendments proposed by South Carolina Democrats, the state’s Republican-led House of Representatives passed the ban by an overwhelming 82-28 margin on Tuesday.
Transgender athletes will be forced to compete as the gender listed on their birth certificate rather than the gender they personally identify with under the new law.
After South Carolina legislators proposed the now-passed bill, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster criticized the NCAA’s decision to ban states with anti-transgender legislation from hosting championship games, according to WBTV. South Carolina is the latest state to pass some form of transgender discrimination legislation during the current legislative session, joining states like Idaho, Arizona, and Pennsylvania in doing so.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia legislators passed House Bill 1084 on Monday, which allows local athletic associations to decide whether or not to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in girls’ leagues.
The bill’s goal, according to Republican state representative Bill Yearta, is to create fairness, not to target transgender youth. “[The bill] establishes an athletic oversight committee to investigate that issue and determine whether transgender people should be allowed to participate in high school sports with the gender they identify with,” Yearta explained.
However, not everyone in the GOP agrees on the issue. Governors Spencer Cox of Utah and Eric Holcomb of Indiana have both vetoed bills passed by their respective legislatures.
Despite his personal “struggle to understand so much of it,” Cox wrote in his veto letter that his goal is to “err on the side of kindness, mercy, and compassion” when in doubt. He later added, “Trans sports is a terribly difficult issue. Please be kind to everyone.”
According to NPR, Holcomb stated in his veto letter that he did not believe the Indiana bill addressed an existing problem in the state’s public school districts. He also stated that he was unsure if the ban would be applied uniformly throughout the state’s public schools.
“After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal,” Holcomb wrote, per the outlet.
Government officials in some states are going after individual rights to seek gender-affirming care, in addition to transgender athletes’ participation in women’s sports. A bill introduced in the South Carolina House of Representatives in March would make it illegal for doctors to provide transitional care to people under the age of 18.
According to South Carolina United for Justice and Equality, medical professionals could be charged with a felony and face up to 20 years in prison if they provide transition-related care to transgender minors under the proposed law.
Should a student’s “perception of [their] gender or sex is inconsistent with the minor’s sex,” all faculty members in South Carolina schools would be required to inform the student’s parents if the bill becomes law. A bill similar to this was introduced in Alabama earlier this year. The Senate-approved legislation, which would make it illegal for doctors to perform surgeries on transgender youth or provide them with puberty blockers and hormones, was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in March.
In the same month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) directing them to “conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances” of “abusive” gender reassignment surgery in minors.