After Kentucky Democratic Governor Andy Beshear vetoed a bill that bans transgender girls from participating in school sports, Kentucky Republicans moved swiftly to override it, enacting a bill that would require parents to show birth certificates for their children to participate in these activities.
The bill, Senate Bill 93, affects just one student—a transgender girl in the eighth grade who is now forbidden from playing on the same team as her friends.
Beshear said the legislation "most likely violates the equal protection rights afforded by the United States Constitution," adding it discriminates against transgender children who want to participate in girls’ or women’s sports "without presenting a single instance in Kentucky of a child gaining a competitive edge as a result of sex reassignment."
Chris Hartman, the executive director of Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky-based LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, also criticized Kentucky Republicans, condemning lawmakers for "passing the first explicitly anti-LGBTQ law in Kentucky in almost a decade."
“This law singles out the one openly transgender girl in Kentucky’s entire school system who plays on a school sports team."
"She started her school’s field hockey team, recruited all of the other team members, and just wanted the opportunity to play with her friends."
"Now Kentucky lawmakers have intervened to stop her from playing with her friends her eighth-grade year.”
“This bill has been so plainly about political gain and using Kentucky kids as political pawns that it is an embarrassment to our commonwealth.”
In recent months, Republicans across the country have sponsored a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, much of it directed at transgender people.
The legislation is a further example of how transgender issues have recently galvanized the far right, taking a spot at the forefront of attacks conservatives have directed toward the LGBTQ+ community in what has become one of the more defining elements of the culture wars.
In fact, Republican state Senator Robby Mills, one of the bill's co-sponsors, praised his colleagues, calling the veto override a "huge win for the integrity of women’s sports," adding that the Kentucky General Assembly "stands in support of female athletes everywhere as they work hard to achieve their goals and dreams.”
Many have criticized Kentucky Republicans for the move
The Kentucky law is only the latest in a long line of similar bills regarding the matter of transgender sports players.
Earlier this week, Ian Mackey, a Democrat who represents parts of St. Louis County (District 87) in the Missouri House of Representatives, called out his Republican colleague Representative Chuck Basye for proposing a bill that would ban transgender athletes from participating in high school sports.
Basye proposed the prohibition on transgender students participating on sports teams as an amendment to House Bill 1141, which was drafted in response to false claims that schools have been teaching critical race theory to young children.