Arkansas Bans Transgender Athletes From Female Sports Teams
Arkansas has banned transgender women and girls from competing in female school sports teams.
The bill, which was introduced by Republicans last month, was signed into law by the state governor Asa Hutchinson yesterday, March 25.
Hutchinson said he agreed with the ‘intention’ of the law, dubbed the ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act’.
‘I signed the law as a fan of women’s sports from basketball to soccer and including many others in which women compete successfully,’ he said in a statement.
‘This law simply says that female athletes should not have to compete in a sport against a student of the male sex when the sport is designed for women’s competition. As I have stated previously, I agree with the intention of this law. This will help promote and maintain fairness in women’s sporting events,’ he added.
Reeves had previously voiced support for the bill, stating that allowing transgender girls to compete in women’s sports ‘limits opportunity for so many competitors’.
As per the Associated Press, Republicans have now introduced bills to stop transgender athletes from competing in women’s teams in 20 states.
This has received significant pushback from civil rights groups, who say it will only increase discrimination that trans youth already face.
Holly Dickson, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas said the law ‘is a discriminatory and shameful attempt by politicians to stigmatize and exclude transgender teens’. ABC News reports.
In response to news that the bill had passed, Human Rights Campaign rebuked legislators for failing to provide examples of issues or attempting to justify the need for the bill.
The group said this lays bare ‘the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact’.
Alphonso David, the president of the organisation said Hutchinson’s eagerness to sign the discriminatory legislation is an affront ‘not just to the transgender kids it is bound to hurt but to all Arkansans who will be impacted by its consequences’.
‘Transgender kids are kids who just want to play, and they deserve that chance. The fact that neither Governor Hutchinson nor the legislators who voted to pass this bill have named a single example of what they are legislating against underscores that this is simply a politically motivated bill for the sake of discrimination itself,’ he added.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open Mondays and Fridays, 8 pm to midnight and is run by trans volunteers.
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