COLOMBIA, SC ( Associated Press) — The governor of South Carolina has quietly signed into law a bill that would ban transgender students from playing girls’ or women’s sports in public schools and colleges as the state joined nearly a dozen others. who have passed similar laws in the past. two years.
The bill was one of 43 acts by Governor Henry McMaster signed into law on Monday without much fanfare or ceremony. McMaster didn’t post on social media like she did to sign off on bills offering additional leave for new parents or allowing for early voting.
But just before the Republican-dominated General Assembly passed the resolution earlier this month, McMaster said, “I think girls should play girls and boys should play boys. That’s how we always did it.” is.”
Asked if he meant biological boys, the Republican governor replied “Is there any other type?”
The law requires transgender students to compete with the “biological sex” listed on their birth certificates who are recorded “at or near the time of birth.”
Proponents of the ban warn that in a rapidly changing society, transgender girls would have an unfair biological advantage by being born stronger men. He suggests that in places like South Carolina where it is an important part of school life, podiums and MVP awards of girls’ winners could be carried by transgender athletes.
Opponents of the bill said it was a cruel idea, alienating students who are not elite athletes but just looking for a way to become a regular student, hanging out with friends and learning life lessons through competition. are.
“Transgender youth are not a threat to fairness in sport, and this law now unnecessarily stigmatizes youth who are only in their teens to navigate, make friends, and build skills such as teamwork and leadership, winning and losing. Trying,” Ivy Hill said. of a coalition of more than 30 groups committed to LGBTQ equality.
South Carolina is the latest place to join a growing group of mostly conservative states that require transgender students to compete with the gender listed on their birth certificates. The governors of Oklahoma and Arizona signed their laws in late March, and the governor of Tennessee signed a bill earlier this month.
The idea began to emerge in legislatures about two years ago. Idaho passed the first such law in 2020. Its legislation and similar legislation in West Virginia have both been blocked by the courts.
Lawyers for the conservative Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom said girls deserve to compete on an equal playing field.
“We welcome South Carolina to the growing number of states that have worked to uphold fair competition for all women, whether in grade school or college. When the law disregards biological differences, it tends to overwhelm women and women. harms girls,” coalition attorney Christiana Kiefer said in a statement.
In South Carolina, the high school league currently handles the question of whether a student should compete on boys’ or girls’ teams on a case-by-case basis and has settled less than half a dozen cases over five years.
Research on children who identify as transgender is just getting started. A study released online in Pediatrics earlier this month found that children who begin to identify as transgender at an early age tend to retain that identity for at least several years. But the study found mostly children from white, high-income families who supported their transition.
South Carolina lawmakers have yet to take up resolutions passed in other conservative states, such as Texas, where Governor Greg Abbott ordered state agencies to place transgender children in foster care or prohibit gender-affirming health care treatment for transgender youth. directed to consider the measures.