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Louisiana Governor Vetoes Anti-Trans Bill, Calling It “a Solution in Search of a Problem”

At a protest for transgender rights, a person holds a sign reading "Protect trans kids"

We’re only halfway into 2021, and state legislatures across the country have introduced more than 100 bills designed to strip transgender people of their basic human and civil rights. In Louisiana, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards just vetoed one such bill, calling it out for what it is: “a solution in search of a problem.”

One of the big manufactured panics of 2021 is the fight to keep transgender girls and young women from playing on sports teams corresponding to their gender identity. These bills claim to be in the interest of “protecting” cisgender women and girls from transgender athletes with a “biological advantage” over them.

Yet as Edwards notes, not even the author of his state’s bill could provide an example of a cis female athlete facing this issue. In fact, practically none of the lawmakers or conservative organizations behind these sorts of bills have been able to provide real-life examples from their states when asked.

These sorts of bills are about much more than sports. They’re about denying transgender people their basic right to exist while also having a hefty side order of sexist and racist implications. They do, however, have a huge negative impact on the sports industrial complex, since they tend to focus on denying federal funding to schools that allow trans girls and women to play on girls’ and women’s teams. That then affects those schools’ eligibility to host NCAA tournaments, which are a major source of income for them. Thankfully, that’s been enough to keep some governors from signing their states’ bills into law.

Edwards does cite this potential financial hit as one of the reasons he chose to veto the bill, but he focuses far more heavily on the need to fight discrimination and the fact that this kind of bill “would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health.”

You can read his full statement here:

(via The Hill, image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.