If you’ve followed the absolute onslaught of anti-trans laws popping up across the country, you’ve likely noticed the huge new focus on keeping trans women out of the sport. While many of these bills have titles that suggest that the Republican Mission is about protecting “women and girls” in athletics, the reality is that these bills are discriminatory, marginal, and hateful.
Transgirls are girls, and they belong on girls’ sports teams. In addition, many Republican lawmakers struggle to provide specific examples of female transporters who are actually causing problems when urged, saying instead that they have heard concerns from parents or coaches about potential problems. Basically, the Republicans are stirring up anti-trans hysteria and turning a non-issue into a rally.
Louisiana’s bill was roughly the same as any other bill, including those that actually passed like Florida, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Republican Senator Beth Mizell supported the Louisiana ban that would keep trans girls away from girls’ sports in kindergarten through twelfth grade and college. The name of Senate Law 156, like many others, was misleadingly referred to as the “Law on Fairness in Women’s Sports”.
As we know, trans and non-binary adolescents face higher rates of bullying, harassment and mental health problems in school. We also know that participating in sports is a common way for children and teenagers to make friends, develop interpersonal skills, and get exercise. Keeping a population already at greater risk of being isolated and bullied from activities that might foster friendships and camaraderie is cruel (aside from discriminatory and unjust, of course).
Trans teenagers playing sports is not a problem. In particular, this isn’t an issue that Louisiana state lawmakers can actually point out, as the Louisiana High School Athletic Association is essentially already banning trans-high schoolers from participating in the sport, ABC News reports.
New Orleans Democratic MP Royce Duplessis agreed with Edwards’ argument that the state would suffer economically if the law were passed, describing the Republican effort as “symbolic legislation that doesn’t solve any real problems,” The Advocate reports. Duplessis added that SB 156 was also inherently discriminatory.
“Either you want business to come to Louisiana or you want to discriminate,” Democratic Senator Karen Carter-Peterson said the same way Edwards and Duplessis did, according to local edition 4WWL. “We are about to make a decision.” Choosing whether or not to discriminate should never be a difficult one, but for far too many Republicans it seems like a serious struggle.