Source: CBS 17
A bill that would ban transgender students in North Carolina from competing on teams that match their gender identity could soon head to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.
Senate Bill 631/House Bill 574, known as the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” would require students to play on teams based on their biological sex at birth.
The bill passed the House on April 19 and the Senate on April 20. Once it passed the Senate, it was sent back to the House on April 24 and then referred to the House Rules Committee on April 25, where the bill currently sits.
While defending the legislation, Sen. Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell) said the bill “is not about being anti-trans” and that it’s actually “pro-woman.”
Democrats are not buying it and many have pointed to the fact that there are essentially no transgender athletes competing in middle and high schools in North Carolina.
According to CBS 17, Sen. Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake) said there are approximately 15 transgender students who have been cleared to play on a team that matches their gender identity. There are 140,000 middle and high school athletes in the Tar Heel state. That means that 0.01% of these student-athletes are transgender.
“I think this bill traffics in fear, 15 of them to be targeted, to be clear. I think it puts our most vulnerable kids in harm,” he said.
Parents of transgender children have slammed the bill, calling it an attack on LGBTQ youth.
Katie Jenifer, whose daughter Maddie is transgender, called the legislation “harmful.”
“This is ridiculousness,” she said, according to CBS 17. “My daughter is a girl and should be playing on girls’ teams. If she were to play on a boy’s baseball team, she definitely would get hurt.”
School sports are supposed to teach children teamwork, but if transgender kids are banned from participating, they will be learning the exact opposite lesson – that discrimination and exclusion is OK.
North Carolina Republicans, who now have a supermajority in the legislature thanks to ex-Democratic Rep. Tricia Cotham’s betrayal when she switched parties, have filed multiple other bills targeting LGBTQ+ children, including legislation that would outlaw gender-affirming care.
Republicans are calling plays from their usual playbook where they ignore the real problems facing North Carolinians and instead focus on culture war issues that get their base riled up and full of hate.
The simple truth is that this legislation, along with the others that have been filed, will harm transgender students. Transgender kids already experience unsafe and unwelcoming environments and discriminatory school policies that put their mental and physical health at risk.
“I cannot stress this enough — lives will be lost. Children will die if these bills go through,” said Jenifer.