In the run-up to marriage equality, we saw a concerted effort in the states from anti-equality lawmakers spreading fear and misinformation about LGBTQ people with the clear intention of undermining LGBTQ equality. Now we’re seeing another uptick in dangerous, anti-LGBTQ bills in state capitols.
Just before the February 11 deadline, the Mississippi Senate passed an anti-transgender bill, SB 2536. This bill would prevent transgender student-athletes from participating in sports as the gender in which they identify.
This bill has now moved to the House of Representatives for consideration. And Speaker of the House Philip Gunn has the power to stop it from moving forward.
Here are 5 facts about transgender athletes and SB 2536:
1. Transgender athletes exist, and their participation in athletics doesn’t harm cisgender girls and women. There is simply no data to back up these concerns.
2. SB 2536 is modeled after the only bill of its kind to have passed, an Idaho bill which was immediately suspended by a federal court. In its ruling granting the injunction, the court concluded that the law was based on nothing more than discrimination against trans people.
3. Advocates for women & girls in sports oppose bills like SB 2536. The National Women’s Law Center, Women’s Sports Foundation & Women Leaders in College Sports support trans-inclusive policies and oppose efforts to exclude transgender students from participating in sports.
4. Transgender people do not have an inherent competitive advantage in sports by virtue of their identity. No female transgender athlete has qualified for the Olympics, despite decades-old rules permitting participation.
5. The NCAA came out against an Idaho anti-trans athletics bill, calling it harmful to transgender student-athletes and against the NCAA's core values. The statement said such legislation will be considered in the selection of host sites for tournaments and other NCAA events.