Transgender sports ban is a conservative litmus test

The LGBTQ rights struggle has entered a new phase as conservatives are making extensive efforts to prevent transgender girls


From participating in school sports, with activists warning support for these policies will be a major test for Republicans ready to run for office in the coming years.

Legislators in at least 25 provinces have proposed measures to prevent transgender athletes from participating in school sports. And similar to the controversy over the past several years of allowing transgender students to use toilets and locker rooms in line with their identity, the push to block transgender athletes from girls and women games has emerged as the latest flashpoint in cultural wars.

"This has become a litmus test for Republican voters and conservatives," said Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project, a think tank, which has banned girls and women from running sports. "It is an important victory for the Republicans, and the base of the old-fashioned voters will look for politicians who show that this issue is not credible."

Idaho was the first to pass a law banning transgender girls and women from participating in women's sports, but a state judge suspended the enforcement of the measure. Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee have since passed a law barring transgender athletes from joining women's sports teams. But Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Monday voted in favor of a bill that would continue to ban transgender sex-oriented treatment for teenagers.

The way this blockade war is playing out in South Dakota shows how much of a problem this can be for political problems in Republicans based on their bases, urban voters and the potential economic consequences.

Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican who was expected to run for president in 2024, initially welcomed a legislature-approved bill targeting transgender players. But he declined to sign, saying the concern would be stopped soon by the courts.

Instead, it has proposed a review of the measure, which the legislature has refused to do. Noem then issued two executive directives that addressed the issue - one stating that in South Dakota, only women of the opposite sex could participate in any girls 'or girls' sporting event, and other restrictions on transgender athletes at state higher education institutions.

While Noem was urging the state legislature to ban transgender girls from school sports, his decision not to sign the bill and instead seek reforms sparked outrage among veterans who say he fears the NCAA and other businesses.

Schilling warned in a statement that Noem's move "would be troubling if he decides to run for office in the future." With a host of activists planning to join 2024, he told CBS News that his party aims to "make sure we have a strong harvest [of presidential candidates] and weak people do not succeed."

"It's very easy," he said. "It's a matter of resilience and whether you as president are willing to withstand great pressure."

Conservative activists say President Biden's victory removes the issue from Republicans in state chambers, as Mr Biden has taken immediate and incumbent action to protect LGBTQ rights, including lifting former President Donald Trump's ban on transgender troops in the military and issuing high-order orders. and to combat discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. Mr Biden's chief anti-apartheid activist said "children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the toilet, changing room or school playground."

"If Trump had been re-elected, you wouldn't have seen it so much because it wasn't a big risk," Schilling said.

Some Republicans see the issue as a force to be reckoned with, especially by urban women whose children are registered in sports or to voters who have deviated from Mr. Trump because of his speech and conduct but who cannot be held back by policies deemed Democratic.

"It's not about the Republican background, it's about white urban voters," a GOP strategist in North Carolina told CBS News.

The Independent Women's Forum, a women's advocacy group focused on government-based legislation in response to Mr. Biden, says he opposes the title IX, a state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by institutions receive state dollars.

"Governor Noem has a direct backlash. It is the women's varsity and regional competitions that threaten the participation of bloodthirsty men, not the first girls' soccer," Jennifer Braceras, director of the Independent Women's Law Center, told CBS News.

But the Department of Justice and Human Rights Department issued a memorandum of understanding late last month stating that "after reviewing the title of Title IX, the issuance of the Supreme Court, and the legal advancement in the area, Division has determined that the best reading of the IX ban on 'sex' discrimination involves incitement. sexuality and sexual orientation. "

The issue of transgender players in women's sports has become a major topic among GOP's presidential opponents, in addition to Noem.

Mr Trump devoted his time to his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month to criticize policies that allow transgender girls to compete, saying they would "destroy women's sports."