BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Legislation to keep transgender athletes in Louisiana from competing on college and K-12 women’s and girls’ sports teams have been unanimously approved Thursday by a state Senate committee.
Similar legislation was vetoed last year by Gov. John Bel Edwards. The Democratic governor has not said whether he would veto the bill again if it reaches his desk.
State Sen. Beth Mizell, a Republican from Franklinton, is the measure’s sponsor. Backers said the measure is needed to ensure that girls are not unfairly edged out of athletic scholarship opportunities by biologically male athletes.
Opponents said there are no known transgender athletes currently competing in the state. They said it adds to discrimination against an already marginalized group.
“It is providing lip service to a discussion about women in sports that really should be focused on funding and equality with men’s sports,” said SarahJane Guidry, executive director of the LGBTQ rights group Forum for Equality Louisiana.
The Education Committee sent the bill to the full Senate without objection from Democrats or Republicans. Member Katrina Jackson, a Monroe Democrat, cited transgender woman Lia Thomas’ recent victory in an NCAA women’s swimming championship as she explained her support. “I’m seeing now the more glaring concern of biologically born females,” Jackson said.