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Louisiana ban on transgender athletes competing in girls, women’s sports becomes law

“I think it’s unfortunate, but it’s where we are.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks in Baton Rouge, La., Feb. 1, 2022.
The Associated Press/ Matthew Hinton

Story at a glance

  • The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act will require Louisiana K-12 schools and universities to designate sports teams according to the biological sex assigned at birth for the team members. 

  • Louisiana’s Democratic governor let the bill become law without a signature.

  • The measure had overwhelming support from the state legislature.

A Louisiana bill barring transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports through college will become law after the state’s Democratic governor declined to veto or sign the measure. 

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act will require Louisiana K-12 schools, as well as universities, to designate sports teams according to the team members’ biological sex assigned at birth. 

Proponents of the bill argue inherent biological differences between men and women give transgender women and girls an unfair advantage in sports over cisgender women and girls. 

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), who is opposed to the bill and vetoed a nearly identical measure last year, on Monday said he would allow the bill to become law without his signature as its codification is inevitable due to widespread support in the House and Senate. Both chambers passed the law by a more than two-thirds vote. 

“I think it’s unfortunate, but it’s where we are. And I hope we can all get to a point soon where we realize that these young people are doing the very best that they can to survive. I just think we can be better than that bill,” Edwards said during a news conference Monday. 

The governor noted there has not been one instance of an openly trans girl participating in sports in the state since the bill first reached his desk a year ago. 

“Whether it’s intended or not, the effect is to send a strong message to at least some of these young people that they shouldn’t be who they think they are, who they believe they are, who they know they are, and I find that very distressing,” he said. 

Louisiana is only the latest state to pass a law preventing transgender athletes from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. Similar legislation has successfully passed in at least 17 states