Transgender sports ban bill wins Louisiana Senate backing

Louisiana

A proposed ban on transgender athletes playing female school sports in Utah would affect transgender girls like this 12-year-old swimmer. She and her family spoke with The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to avoid outing her publicly. She cried when she heard about the proposal that would ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams in public high schools, which would separate her from her friends. She’s far from the tallest girl on her team, and has worked hard to improve her times but is not a dominant swimmer in her age group, her coach said. “Other than body parts I’ve been a girl my whole life,” she said. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — With no debate, Louisiana state senators Wednesday overwhelmingly agreed to bar transgender athletes from competing on girls’ sports teams in schools.

The Senate voted 29-6 for the bill from Sen. Beth Mizell, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican.

Four Democrats — Sens. Regina Barrow of Baton Rouge, Katrina Jackson of Monroe, Gary Smith of Norco and Greg Tarver of Shreveport — joined Republicans in supporting the legislation.

But the measure likely is headed to the same House Education Committee that rejected a similar proposal a day earlier.

Supporters of the proposals said they are trying to protect female athletes from unfair competition. Opponents call the measures discriminatory. Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, opposes the bill and is expected to veto it if the proposal reaches his desk.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association already has taken a position that student athletes “shall compete in the gender of their birth certificate unless they have undergone sex reassignment.”

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The bill is filed as Senate Bill 156.

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