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Gov. Reeves signs bill banning trans athletes from school sports

Updated: Mar. 11, 2021 at 9:51 AM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill to prohibit transgender athletes from competing on girls’ or women’s sports teams Thursday.

It’s called the “Mississippi Fairness Act,” or Senate Bill 2536, and it applies to students born male biologically but who now identify as female.

Supporters say the law is needed even though there have been no such occurrences yet in Mississippi, while LGBTQ advocates say it’s discriminatory.

“This is an important day for the women and girls of Mississippi,” Reeves said. “...This important piece of legislature will ensure young girls in Mississippi have a fair playing field in public sports.”

Gov. Reeves could not give an example of a transgender athlete playing for a team in Mississippi, but said the bill would “prevent it from happening in the future.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi released a statement saying in part, “SB 2536 isn’t about protecting fairness in women’s sports. It’s about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life. It’s about creating solutions to problems that don’t exist.”

Click here to read the ACLU’s full statement.

Reeves says he’s only been forced to sign the bill because President Biden signed an executive order that “promotes transgenderism.”

“It sends a clear message to my daughters and all of Mississippi’s daughters that their rights are worth fighting for,” he said.

Reeves said he would not be surprised if the state is sued following the passage of this bill but declined to comment on whether or not he thought such a lawsuit would be successful.

Human Rights Campaign Mississippi released a statement shortly after the signage.

“Missisippians are still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. This law does nothing to help the tens of thousands still out of work or the nearly 300,000 who have contracted the virus in the state,” said Human Rights Campaign Mississippi State Director Rob Hill. “What it does is further discriminate against transgender kids who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence. Every kid deserves the opportunity to learn the values of participation, team work, and work ethic that come with youth sports. Governor Reeves knows this is not a problem in Mississippi and yet he insists on enthusiastically signing this bill to sow fear and division. By making this harmful bill the law in Mississippi, Governor Reeves is openly welcoming discrimination and putting the lives of transgender kids in danger.”

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