It’s been a couple months since we’ve had an update regarding transgender women in sport. Overall, there has been minimal movement on the legislation; although a couple bills have been passed into law, others have died in committee or been vetoed by a governor. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, it’s important to know what’s happening in your state in order to make necessary adjustments to policies and procedures for your program. Many, although not all, bills do affect sport clubs and intramural sports.
To help provide a sense of scope, the following list notes active bills in each state; those specifying intramural and sport club participation are indicated with **.
- HB 391 Signed by Governor
- Georgia: **
- HB 1204 Referred to committee 2/1/21
- Passed and Enacted; Overturned on appeal
- HF 184 Introduced and referred to committee 1/22/21
- SB 208 Passed as amended in Senate 3/17/21; Introduced and referred to committee in House 3/19/21 – Postponed until 2022
- HP 682 Referred to House and Senate committee 3/10/21
- SB 218 Referred to committee 3/10/21
- Missouri: **
- Mississippi **
- SB 2536 Passed and signed by Governor 3/11/21
- HB 112 Passed and signed by Governor 5/7/21
- New Hampshire**
- HB 198 Committee hearing scheduled 3/9/21
- New Jersey
- S 3540 Introduced and referred to committee 3/11/21
- North Dakota
- HB 1298 Vetoed by Governor; Veto overridden in House 4/22/21; Veto sustained in Senate 4/22/21
- New Mexico**
- HB 304 Referred to committee 2/4/21
- HB 972 Referred to committee 4/5/21
- South Dakota – ** Passed House/Senate; Vetoed by Governor 3/29/21, executive orders provided for parts of the bill
- South Carolina
- SB 531 Referred to committee 2/9/21
- Texas: **
- SB 29 Passed in Senate 4/15/21; Read for 2nd time in House 5/25/21
- SB 373 Read for first time and referred to committee 3/9/21
- HB 1458 Read for first time and referred to committee 3/5/21
- HB 3455 Read for first time and referred to committee 3/22/21
- HB 4042 Left pending in committee 4/20/21
- HB 4043 Read for first time and referred to committee 3/29/21
- HB 90 Filed 1st Special Session 7/7/21
- HB 302 Died in committee 3/5/21
- West Virginia: **
While we’re tracking the status of these bills on a state level, we’ve also been keeping an eye on this legislation from a federal level—US SB S.251 was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on 2/4/21. There hasn’t been a great deal of movement, but that could change as priorities change at the state and federal levels.
In June, the Department of Education (DOE) came out with a statement that contradicts the bills that have passed and those that are in the pipeline by clarifying that transgender students were protected under Title IX:
“Today, the Department makes clear that all students—including LGBTQ+ students—deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination,” education secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement, as reported by USA Today. “The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination—and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections.”
This statement, along with the guidance connected to it, could essentially override the legislation that has been passed and block any legislation in the future. (For more on the upcoming changes to Title IX, see: What’s Next for Title IX? and DOE: Transgender Athletes Protected Under Title IX). As we know, there is nothing that goes into law that doesn’t come with a fight from one side or the other. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out in the courts as different groups combat the legislation as well as the DOE guidance.
Based on membership feedback from the survey included in the last article in this series, transwomen’s participation in sport doesn’t seem to be a problem for recreation departments on campuses just yet. This may or may not change; as with COVID, we just don’t know what tomorrow will bring. That being said, the Government Affairs Committee will continue to monitor this issue and provide updates periodically to ensure you have all the information needed to manage changes on your campus.
- For more information, please contact a member of NIRSA’s Government Affairs Committee.