Kansas governor vetoes law banning transgender athletes from playing school sports

TOPEKA — Governor Laura Kelly, for the third year in a row, has vetoed a model law that would ban transgender girls from playing school sports with cisgender girls.

The Democratic governor said Friday the annual attack on transgender students sends “a signal to prospective businesses that Kansas is more focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation than becoming a place where young people want to work and raise families.” .

“Let’s be clear about what this bill is – the policy,” Kelly said. “It will not increase the test results. It will not help any child to read or write. This will not help any teacher prepare our children for the real world. Here is what this bill would really do: harm the mental health of our students.

Internal Bill 2238 would require children from kindergarten age to participate in school activities based on the gender assigned to them at birth. The challenges could potentially expose them to genital inspections.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association said earlier this year that the law would apply to about two student-athletes at Kansas schools.

Republicans hold supermajority ranks in both houses, but it remains unclear whether they have the 84 votes needed to override the veto in the House. A Democrat joined Republicans in the House in passing the bill by an 82-40 margin on February 23. Republicans in the Senate, who need 27 votes to override a veto, passed the bill by a 28-11 margin on March 9.

This year’s debates mirrored past discussions of transgender athletes. The legislature passed similar bills in 2021 and 2022.

Republicans argue the bill is needed to prevent girls from losing scholarship opportunities or sharing locker rooms with boys, and frequently use talking points spawned by anti-LGBTQ hate groups that crafted the model legislation .

When the governor campaigned for re-election last year, she said men shouldn’t compete in women’s sports. But Republicans have refused to recognize a distinction between transgender men and women.

“Now that she no longer has to face voters, the governor has done another flip-flop,” said House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Republican from Wichita.

Hawkins said the bill passed the House and Senate “with broad support to protect the rights of female athletes in the state by requiring student sports teams to include only biologically female members. It’s common sense. Republicans in the House will do whatever they can to override this veto. »

Rija Nazir of Loud Light attends a rally March 6, 2023 at the Statehouse for Body Empowerment. She says legislation targeting transgender athletes has never focused on sport. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

The Legislative Assembly has 30 calendar days to attempt to override a veto, which means lawmakers should attempt to override before the end of the regular session scheduled for April 6.

Rija Nazir, of the civic action group Loud Light, said the bill was “never about sports or athletes”.

“This bill not only fails to understand the difference between sex and gender, but dehumanizes cisgender girls by measuring them by the potential function of their reproductive organs,” Nazir said. “The Kansas Legislature should be ashamed of itself for trying to invade the privacy of minors.”

This developing story will be updated.

Related Article

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button