Lawmakers in Florida and Louisiana have
approved bills that prohibit transgender athletes from competing on
girls' and women's sports teams.
The states are among the more than 30
that have considered or passed such restrictions this legislative
Senate Bill 156 cleared the Louisiana
Republican-led House on Thursday with some support from Democrats. It
had previously passed the GOP-led Senate, also with some Democratic
Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat,
has previously said that he does not support the bill and will veto
The bill, however, cleared both
chambers with veto-proof margins.
Alphonso David, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate,
called passage of SB 156 “shameful.”
“The advancement of this
discriminatory bill is shameful and sends a harmful message to LGBTQ
youth,” David said in a statement. “Tragically, this bill is just
the latest in a wave of attacks on trans and non-binary people in
Louisiana and across the nation. Legislators and supporters who say
it is about a level playing field cannot even provide an example of
one incident where this issue has even occurred. I hope Gov. John Bel
Edwards keeps his word and vetoes this terrible legislation.”
Republicans in Florida watered down a
similar bill and sent it to Governor Ron DeSantis' desk. The
Republican governor is expected to sign the legislation.
Controversial measures stripped from
the bill include a requirement that transgender student athletes
undergo genetic testing and submit to a genitalia examination.
Under Senate Bill 1028, a transgender
high school or college athlete can only participate in team sports if
they provide proof of their biological sex. It also allows students
to sue a school if they allow a transgender girl or woman on a sports
Florida State Representative Carlos
Guillermo, a Democrat, criticized the bill, calling the effort mean
“The message that the bill sends is
an ugly message of exclusion, telling trans kids that who they are is
not OK and that they need to change who they are,” he is quoted as
saying by the AP.
According to HRC, more than 200
anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in state legislatures this
session, 66 of which target transgender athletes.
Seven states have similar bans,
including West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi,
South Dakota, and Idaho. A federal judge last year blocked
implementation of Idaho's law.