Wisconsin Assembly Passes Anti-Trans Bills, Evers Vows to Veto
The Wisconsin Assembly passed three anti-trans bills on Thursday, despite fierce opposition from Democrats and LGBTQ+ advocates. The bills would ban transgender girls and women from competing in high school and college women’s sports teams, and would also bar doctors from performing gender-transition treatment on minors in Wisconsin.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has promised to veto the bills if they make it to his desk. He has called the bills “discriminatory” and “harmful” to transgender youth.
The bills passed the Assembly along party lines, with Republicans voting to pass the bills and all Democrats opposing the measures.
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The bills now head to the state Senate for a vote. If passed, they will go to Evers, who has said he will veto them.
Two of the three bills passed the Assembly in 2021 on party line votes, but the full Senate never voted on the measures.
At least 18 other states have passed legislation that restricts transgender girls participation in sports. Another five states have passed legislation restricting transgender boys and girls participation in sports. There are 28 states, including Wisconsin, that have no laws restricting transgender athlete participation.
At least 22 states have enacted or are trying to enact restrictions on gender-affirming care for people under the age of 18.
Experts say that receiving gender-affirming care is crucial in supporting mental health for transgender people. They also say that allowing transgender athletes to compete in sports that match their gender fosters acceptance and belonging.
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Republicans in Wisconsin and around the country argue that it is unfair to allow transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports. They claim that it gives transgender athletes an unfair advantage.
Democrats have pushed back on that claim, stating that allowing transgender athletes to compete in sports that match their gender fosters acceptance and belonging. They also argue that the bills are discriminatory and harmful to transgender youth.
A week before the bill was passed on Thursday, hearings on the bills drew heated testimony from both opponents and supporters. Hundreds of people were in attendance.
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association has said that there are only about a half dozen transgender girls participating in sports. They have also expressed concerns that the bans could put schools out of line with proposed Title IX changes.
UW-Madison officials have previously warned that the university’s teams would be out of compliance with NCAA policies if the legislation is enacted. The NCAA has previously pulled postseason tournaments and championships from states with anti-transgender laws.
The bill that would restrict gender-affirming care for transgender kids under 18 would bar doctors from providing gender-transition treatment for minors.