Louisiana bans transgender athletes from competing on girl’s and women’s sports teams

A Louisiana bill barring transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports through college will become law after the state’s Democratic governor declined to veto or sign the measure.

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act will require Louisiana K-12 schools, as well as universities, to designate sports teams according to the team members’ biological sex assigned at birth.

Gov. John Bel Edwards allowed the bill to become law Monday despite saying he was opposed to the legislation. Edwards, who vetoed a similar bill last year, said the law was inevitable because of its overwhelming support in the House and Senate. He allowed it to become law without his signature.

“It was obvious to me after two years it was going to become law whether or not I signed or vetoed the bill,” Edwards said Monday night.

Republican Franklinton Sen. Beth Mizell has been working for two years to pass the transgender sports ban. Mizell said her bill will protect girls and young women from facing athletes who would have a biological advantage because of their birth sex.

“Women have worked too hard for too long to get to the competitive level we have attained to now face an unfair playing field,” Mizell told USA Today Network.

Opponents like House Democratic Chairman Sam Jenkins of Shreveport said the bill bullies vulnerable transgender children. “These children, our children, will only see this as an attack,” Jenkins said during debate. “These kids will see us as bullies. Some people are just flat out uncomfortable with the existence of transgender children in our state.”

The issue came to light when Lia Thomas became the first known transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I national championship after taking the 500-yard freestyle swimming title.

“What’s become more apparent (since 2021) is we need to protect women’s sports,” said Republican Rep. Laurie Schlegel, who referred to Thomas as an example.




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