Mississippi legislators have passed a bill banning transgender athletes from competing on all-female sports teams in schools and universities.
On Wednesday, the state House voted 81-28 to pass the Mississippi Fairness Act after it had already passed in the state Senate last month, 34-9. Now, the bill will need to be signed by Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves.
Mississippi is the latest in a growing number of states that have sought restrictions against transgender student-athletes in school sports. As of last month, 25 states were considering these types of bills. This number had risen significantly from 18 states last year. The restrictions specifically focus on the ban of transgender women from competing in women’s sports.
Last year, Idaho made headlines when it became the first state to pass a law banning transgender women from participating in women’s sports. However, a federal district court suspended the bill; therefore, it was never enacted. South Dakota and Utah both failed to get similar bills passed as well. Mississippi is the first state to pass the ban through both chambers this year successfully.
Mississippi Republican state Sen. Angela Hill, who introduced both the initial transgender sports ban and the one that passed Wednesday, says that a case inspired her in Connecticut where two transgender high school runners won championships as part of the girl’s team. Hill does not believe that this is fair.
“If we do not move to protect female sports from biological males who have an unfair physiological advantage, we will eventually no longer have female sports,” Hill explained. She went on to add that the state needed to show that “women matter, female sports matter.”
Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President, was not pleased with the state passing the bill. He says that there is “simply no justification for banning transgender girls and women from participating in athletics other than discrimination.” David believes that passing bills such as these makes the lives of transgender youth more difficult.
The bill is expected to be reviewed by Governor Reeves within a week or two. The bill’s supporters expect the Republican Governor to side with the ban, considering that he has been critical of transgender individuals competing in women’s sports in the past.