The Mississippi House of Representatives passed the SB2536 Bill on Wednesday, which bans transgender athletes from female designated sports. The Bill was introduced in the Mississippi Senate, which it passed earlier last month with a vote of 34-9, and now the House of Representatives with a vote of 81-28.
The Bill requires public schools, member schools of the Mississippi High School Activities association, public institutions of higher education, or any higher education institution which is a member of the NCAA, NAIA or NJCCA to designate its athletic teams or sports on the basis of ‘biological sex.’ Furthermore, it explicitly states that athletic teams or sports designated for ‘females,’ ‘women,’ or ‘girls’ shall not be open to students of the male sex, which in its effect bans transgender female athletes from participating in sports based on their self-identified gender.
Various rights organizations have opposed the Bill for its discriminatory impact on transgender athletes. The Southern Policy Law Center stated:
To be clear, as drafted, the language in these bills is unconstitutional under Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause . . . [t]ransgender collegiate athletes should be allowed equal opportunities to play any sport they choose as their authentic selves and reap the same benefits, just like any other student. Our laws and the lawmakers who write them should work to protect Mississippi’s transgender youth, not encourage discrimination against them.
The bill now heads to Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and requires a final approval. If signed into law, it is expected to take effect from July 1, 2021.