Trans athlete bills now in 28 states


26 state legislators introduced 41 bills targeting transgender children in sports in just the first two months of 2021—numbers that have since increased to 50 bills in 28 states, according to Axios Sports.

  • The laws primarily seek to prohibit transgender women from competing in women’s sports, claiming that such athletes would be at a natural advantage.
  • In Minnesota, one such bill would make trans girls playing sports a petty misdemeanor, meaning they could end up in juvenile court.

There is little, if any, scientific evidence backing the bills, and state legislators have struggled to point to an actual surge of trasgneder athletes in women’s sports.

  • Proponents of the measures, however, say they’re trying to get ahead of a trend.

Prominent female athletes continue to speak out against the laws.

  • 176 athletes and sports figures, including Candace Parker, Megan Rapinoe, and Billie Jean King, all signed a legal brief opposing a bill in Idaho.
  • Rapinoe likewise wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post on the issue.
  • And Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve wrote a similar piece for SI.

For context: the NCAA promotes the inclusion of trasgender athletes, while requiring athletes who are transitioning to female to undergo testosterone suppression treatment for one year before they’re allowed to compete on a women’s team.

The big picture: if the issue of transgender women in sports seems to have come out of nowhere, it’s largely because of an uneven sense of urgency across policital lines.

  • The issue is more widely covered in conservative media, and much of the current Republican-led legislative push has come as the result of nationwide polling among social conservatives.
  • “On the Democratic side, this is not an issue that really excites the base,” Dan Cox, the director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Survey Center on American Life told Axios. “It tends to fire up folks disproportionately on the right than the left.”