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Mississippi votes to ban transgender athletes from girls' and women's teams

Mississippi votes to ban transgender athletes from girls' and women's teams
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The Republican-controlled Mississippi state Senate on Thursday passed a bill that seeks to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls’ or women’s sports at state schools and universities.

According to The Associated Press, the Senate passed the measure in a 34-9 vote.

The legislation is the latest effort by state legislators across the country to impose restrictions on transgender youth in athletics, as well as gender-confirming health care.

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“I’ve had numerous coaches across the state call me and believe that they feel there’s a need for a policy in Mississippi because they are beginning to have some concerns of having to deal with this,” state Sen. Angela Hill (R), the bill's sponsor, said on Thursday.

The AP reported that there was little discussion within the Senate prior to the vote. The bill now heads to the House, where Republicans also hold the majority.

President Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office banning discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in school sports, the workplace and other settings.

Several conservatives have pushed back against the order, arguing it will require schools receiving federal funding to allow transgender athletes to compete on women’s sports teams. The White House had denied that claim.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) criticized Biden’s executive order in a series of tweets earlier this month, writing that he was “disappointed over President Biden’s actions to force young girls ... to compete with biological males for access to athletics.”

Reeves, who has three daughters, added that Biden’s order “will limit opportunity for so many competitors like my daughters. It is bad policy and it is wrong for America.”

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The Human Rights Campaign on Wednesday condemned the bills being advanced in Mississippi and other states related to access to health care and sports participation for transgender people.

These bills are not addressing any real problem, and they’re not being requested by constituents,” the LGBTQ advocacy group said in a statement. “Rather, this effort is being driven by national far-right organizations attempting to sow fear and hate.”

The North Dakota state House on Thursday passed a bill that would prohibit youth transgender athletes from joining teams that match their gender identity. The bill, which now heads to the Senate, also bans sporting events from receiving public funding if they have a trans athlete playing on a team that matches their gender identity.