Today, Wisconsin’s lawmakers considered public input on legislation aimed at barring transgender students from participating in women’s sports. The two bills would force trans female student athletes to either compete as the gender they were assigned at birth, or in co-ed sports.
The proposals were before three different committees today, in both the state senate and assembly. During the meetings, advocates for and against the bills clashed and offered competing perspectives on the legislation.
Advocates for the bills say that allowing transgender girls to participate in sports “robs” cisgender women of athletic opportunities, including scholarships. Cisgender people are those who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth.
Opponents of the legislation call the proposals transphobic, and argue that the claims made by its supporters are overblown or non-existent. That claim is backed up by an investigation conducted by the Associated Press in March.
That report revealed that, in more than 20 states where legislation barring trans students from sports has been introduced, the lawmakers behind those bills largely can’t cite any local examples of conflicts transgender participation in sports has caused.
About twenty organizations have officially registered their opposition to the legislation, which has no Democratic co-sponsors. No organizations have formally registered in their favor.
The organizations in opposition include LGBT+ advocacy groups, UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association — which oversees Wisconsin’s high school sports leagues.
Also among those in opposition is Governor Tony Evers, who will likely veto the bills if they pass the Republican-held state legislature.
These bills are part of a nationwide trend of legislation targeting transgender youth.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, as of April, at least 66 bills targeting transgender participation in school sports have been floated in state legislatures across the country so far this year. At least 35 bills barring trangender youths’ access to age-appropriate, gender-affirming medical care have been proposed.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the bills will likely be before the full legislature next month.
PHOTOS: Jonah Chester