The governor of Montana signed a bill that prohibits transgender athletes from competing on school and college sports teams that match their gender.
The signing of Greg Gianforte on Friday makes Montana the last Republican-controlled state to pass such legislation.
Conservative lawmakers in US state capitals have proposed more than 80 laws this year targeting trans people, most of which seek to ban trans children from certain sports teams or limit youth access to gender-affirming health care.
Supporters of the sports bills have said they will ensure that the playing field in girls’ sports remains fair. But there is no investigation suggesting that trans girls have an unfair advantage in school sports.
When the Associated Press recently contacted lawmakers behind the proposed bans, most I couldn’t quote a single local example of a trans girl who plays sports. Some pointed to a Connecticut case in which families of cisgender girls sued, alleging that two trans sprinters had an unfair advantage. But two days after that lawsuit was filed, one of the cis girls beat your trans competitor in a state championship race.
“If you look at the legislature’s justification for promoting a ban on transgender sports, they couldn’t cite a single instance where transgender participation in athletics was a problem or caused a conflict,” said Alex Rate, director. ACLU of Montana legal.
Rate called the Montana law “patently unconstitutional.”
The bill had met with wide opposition from business leaders, doctors, athletes, and members of the LGBTQ + community. “This bill unfairly targets trans youth and puts millions of federal education dollars at risk. It is an unnecessary and harmful policy that comes at a huge cost to the state, ”said Shawn Reagor, director of economic justice and equality for the Montana Human Rights Network.
Gianforte said last week that he had met with transgender people and athletes while considering signing the bill.
Lawmakers in more than 20 states have considered similar sports bans and they have been signed into law in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia. Idaho law was blocked by a court ruling last year. The governors of North Dakota and Kansas have vetoed similar measures.
So far this year, sixteen anti-LGBTQ + legislative proposals have been enacted, the most such bills to have been enacted in a single year, the Human Rights Campaign. saying on Friday. Eight of the laws specifically target trans people.
Young trans athletes have been increasingly vocal about proposed bans in their states, and a 12-year-old girl in Utah, who is trans and a swimmer, recently told The Guardian: “It’s a part of your life that you work so hard. hard because and for them to take it off is difficult. It just seems like [the lawmakers] I only care what I have in my pants and not all the things that I can contribute to the team and all my hard work. “
The Republican-controlled Montana Legislature passed the measure last month, after it was amended to void it if the federal government withholds state education funding for gender discrimination and fails a state appeal.
Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office prohibiting discrimination based on gender, raising concern among Montana university system officials that $ 350 million in education funding could be at stake if the measure becomes law.
A spokesperson for Gianforte did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism