Kansas Legislature Passes Bill to Ban Transgender Athletes from Girls’ Sports

Kansas’ Republican-led legislature passed a bill that would ban transgender athletes from playing girls’ or women’s school sports if they were born male. The bill is expected to be vetoed by the state’s Democrat Governor. 

However, the bill appears to have enough support to override that veto. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly already vetoed two similar measures in the previous two years. 

LGBTQ advocates and opponents of the big say the laws are unnecessary and harmful. They also point to the small number of transgender athletes in school sports and say that laws like these are only creating hatred against the trans community. 

Transgender rights have become a hot-button issue for the Republicans, pushing it to the front of the culture wars. 

At least 18 states have passed or enacted legislation preventing transgender students from playing on school sports teams matching their gender identity.

The measure also is part of GOP conservatives’ broader national campaign against transgender rights, which includes bans on gender-affirming care for minors, preventing transgender people from using facilities associated with their gender identities, and blocking them from changing their driver’s licenses and birth certificates.

Kansas Republicans made it a major issue when Gov. Kelly ran for reelection last year, focusing multiple television ads on it. 

While she won a narrow victory, supporters of a ban appeared to pick up just enough legislative seats to have the two-thirds majorities necessary in both chambers to override a veto.

The Kansas Senate on Thursday voted 28-11 to pass the bill. The House voted 82-40 to pass the measure on Feb. 23. To override a veto, two-thirds of each chamber would have voted against the governor’s action.

The latest version of the bill bars transgender girls and women from female sports teams in public elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges, as well as from private school teams that compete against public schools.

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