Arkansas AG, lawmakers introduce bill banning transgender athletes from female sports

·2 min read
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Arkansas is the latest state to try and pass a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing in sports that match their gender identity. Attorney general Leslie Rutledge called the law a preemptive effort. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Arkansas lawmakers introduced a bill on Monday that would ban transgender athletes from competing on girls’ and women’s sports teams at schools throughout the state, according to The Associated Press.

Republican attorney general Leslie Rutledge called the law a preemptive effort, despite having no knowledge of any transgender athletes competing anywhere in the state, after an executive order from President Joe Biden that prohibits any discrimination based on gender identity in school sports.

“We don’t want common sense to be overshadowed by so-called political correctness, and this bill will ensure the integrity of girls and women in sports,” Rutledge said, via The Associated Press.

The proposed law would apply to both K-12 schools and universities in the state.

Other states have tried to pass similar bills

Arkansas’ bill isn’t unique, as 20 other states have already tried to pass similar legislation in recent years.

So far, though, no state has successfully passed and implemented the law.

Idaho came the closest last year with its “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.” The state passed the bill, marking the first state in the country to do so, though a federal judge blocked the bill after the ACLU filed a lawsuit.

The Idaho bill banned transgender girls and women from competing in sports that matched their gender identity, and also allowed for them to have their genitals checked if their biological sex is changed. The law, however, didn’t apply to transgender boys or men.

That law, naturally, drew immense backlash. Many prominent athletes from across the sports world even wrote to the NCAA urging it to stop holding sponsored events there.

Tennessee currently has a similar bill working its way through the state house, one that Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, said is necessary otherwise transgender athletes would “destroy women’s sports.”

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