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Mississippi passes bill blocking transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports

The Mississippi House passed a bill Wednesday to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports across the state.

The bill is now headed to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves’ desk. He is expected to sign the bill, according to a Fox News report.

What are the details?

The House passed the bill — dubbed the Mississippi Fairness Act — 81-28 on Wednesday, according to the outlet. Six representatives did not vote, and seven representatives voted “present.”

The Republican-controlled state Senate passed the bill 34-9 in February.

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The ban will apply to state schools and universities. According to
ABC News, the bill would require “any public school and university that is a member of the Mississippi High School Activities Association and NCAA, among other associations, to designate their athletic teams as male, female or co-ed and restrict athletes assigned male at birth from joining female teams.”

Idaho became the first state to pass a similar law banning trans women from competing in women’s sports in 2020. A federal district court, however, suspended the new law and it has yet to be enacted.

What are people saying about this?

Mississippi Republican State Sen. Angela Hill, who sponsored the bill, said, “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.”

She added, “This issue is imminent in Mississippi. We have to make a statement that women matter, female sports matter.”

Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said the state was clearly on the “wrong side of history.”

“There is simply no justification for banning transgender girls and women from participating in athletics other than discrimination,” David said in a statement on the Mississippi House passing the bill. “Like all girls, transgender girls just want to play and be part of a team with their friends. History will not look kindly on this moment in Mississippi.”

David added, “These dangerous bills are designed to make the lives of transgender kids more difficult while they try to navigate their adolescence.”

Biden’s stance

In January, President Joe Biden issued an executive order extending protections against discrimination of gender identity and sexual orientation.

“Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love,” Biden said at the time. “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or the school sports.”

Mississippi is now one of more than 20 states where lawmakers have proposed restrictions on trans athletes playing on sports teams. Only 17 states allow transgender high school athletes to take part in sports without regulation

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