(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards didn’t veto or approve the Republican-led Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, by the end of the legislative session Monday. The now-law that bans transgender women from participating in women’s sports.
“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 that they are,” Edwards said in a press conference on Monday. ” I find that very distressing. I do believe that we can be better than that.”
The legislation points to the biological differences between men and women. It claims “strength, speed, and endurance” are generally found in “greater degrees in biological males than biological females.”
The law also claims that hormone therapy after puberty is not effective until over a year after treatment begins — but does not reference puberty blockers, which some trans youth take to temporarily halt puberty.
There is no conclusive evidence as to whether transgender women have an unfair advantage, some experts say.
A recent study found that hormone therapy is most effective at quelling physical advantages after two years, but the study had several limitations. For example, it didn’t take into account differences in exercise habits.
Several major athletic organizations, including NCAA, the Olympics and the governing bodies for U.S. national sports leagues, allow transgender women to compete against cisgender women.
LGBTQ advocates say such bans are aiming to solve a problem that does not exist, and will only serve to harm trans children.
“SB 44 is a direct attack on transgender youth that are trying their best to just be kids, and fit in with and play alongside their peers,” the Human Right Campaign said in a statement when the legislation first passed the legislature.
It continued: “Trans kids, like all kids across the country, have said themselves that they play sports for the same reasons all kids do: to be part of a team, to learn discipline, and above all, to have fun with their friends.”
There have been more than 300 bills targeting the LGBTQ community across the country so far this year.
Louisiana joins Indiana, Oklahoma, Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia in banning transgender girls from sports that align with their gender identity.
However, several governors have vetoed similar bills, including Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.
The two cited a lack of evidence that trans students were unfairly dominating and warned about the mental health implications of banning trans youth from recreational sports.
The two both had their vetoes overturned.
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