On Wednesday (March 3) the State House in Mississippi approved a bill that could ban transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports. If passed, the bill would make Mississippi the first US state to actively add anti-transgender legislation to its books.
The bill passed through the house with an 81-28 vote, and is designed to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in women’s high school and college sports teams in the Hospitality State.
Gov. Reeves Critical of Trans Athletes
Now that it’s successfully made it through the house, Senate Bill 2536 now need to be approved by the state’s Republican Governor Tate Reeves. Reeves has been openly and vocally critical of trans athletes in the past and is therefore expected to sign the bill into state law. However, he has remained quiet on the issue in recent days, despite the high profile bill being brought to before the state House.
Other Conservative States Likely to Follow Suit
Despite the fact we live in a widely progressive society in the US and the wider western world, the stance of the Republican Government in Mississippi is far from unique. Numerous anti-transgender bills relation to sports participation have been introduced in a number of US states, all of which have republican governments. Senate Bill 2536 is so far the only one to make it as far as the governor’s desk, but we’re still in early March, so more conservative states could yet reach this stage before the end of 2021.
Naturally, such bills have faced a large volume of backlash and criticism from LGBTQ charities and support groups both here in the US and throughout the world. The most notable and vocal of these is the Human Rights Community - the largest LGBTQ rights group in the US.
Male-Born Athletes Have an ‘Unfair Advantage’
Those in support of banning trans athletes from women’s competitive sports claim that being born male gives trans athletes an ‘unfair advantage’ when competing in women’s sports.Those who support the inclusion of trans athletes in women’s sports say that bills, such as Senate Bill 2536 in Mississippi are both ‘discriminatory and harmful’. Opposers of the conservative bills have also suggested that the ‘unfair advantage’ argument is merely a poor a tempt to make their thinly veiled transphobia more palatable.
Mississippi “Determined to be on the Wrong Side of History"
Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Community, commented on the bill, accusing the Mississippi state government of being “determined to be on the wrong side of history”. He then went in to say that the only “justification” that the supporters had for banning transgender athletes from woman’s sport was “discrimination”.
Sponsor Claims to Have Support From Coaches
Republican state Sen. Angela Hill, who is the sponsor for Senate Bill 2536, has claimed that she pushed the bill through because numerous sports coach in the state had called her claiming that there is a “need for policy”.
Although he hasn’t been vocal in recent days, Governor Reeves, who could write the bill into law this week, made his stance clear on transgender athletes earlier in the year. When President Biden issued an order last month extending protections against the discrimination of people based on the sexuality or gender identity, Reeves sent out a post on Facebook in response, In the post, the governor claim that president Biden was forcing you female athletes, including his own daughters, to “compete with biological males for access to athletics."
Michael McKean is an experienced writer with a portfolio that includes work on the subjects of sport, gambling, travel and finance. With a background rooted in journalism, Michael first ventured into the professional writing world based in Switzerland, where he wrote for a number of language and travel sites and magazines before moving into the world of sports writing and gambling sites.
As an avid soccer fan, who follows everything from the Scottish lower leagues to the European elites, he has earned himself a solid reputation as a reliable football betting tipster and predictor. Outside of work, Michael has always gotten involved with grassroutes football everywhere he has worked and lived - UK, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil - and still isn’t shy when it comes to pulling the boots on himself. As well as soccer, he has also developed a love of North American sports, particularly ice hockey - a love which began in Switzerland and saw him venture across the pond to follow the NHL. Moving away from dry land, he’s also a keen longboard surfer and is happiest when writing with a view of the ocean.