DeKalb, IL — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill Thursday to ban transgender athletes from competing on girl’s or women’s sports teams. The bill is one of many circling state legislatures across the country that target trans youth.
The bill is set to become law July 1, although a legal challenge is possible. The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi said it isn’t about protecting fairness in women’s sports but instead erasing trans people from participating.
“What makes SB 2536 so much worse than the routine fear-mongering is that it targets children,” Mississippi ACLU said in a statement. “That cannot be lost in this discussion.”
Republican legislators who pushed the bill gave no evidence of any transgender athletes competing in Mississippi schools or universities.
Mississippi’s new law follows a series of similar measures in several states targeting transgender youth. More than 20 states are proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for transgender minors.
The series of bills proposing the restrictions come from conservative lawmakers who are responding to an executive order by President Joe Biden that bans discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere.
As a result, more than 500 student-athletes from at least 80 universities sent a letter Wednesday to NCAA President Mark Emmert and the NCAA Board of Governors calling on them to speak out for trans athletes.
“The NCAA must speak out against bills that directly affect their student-athlete population if they want to uphold their self-professed ideals of keeping college sports safe and promoting the excellence of physical and mental well-being for student-athletes,” the letter reads.