Arizona, Oklahoma, and Kentucky have joined growing US states in imposing a ban on trans athletes’ participation in girls’ sports.
The three US states passed the bills on Thursday in the latest flurry of state legislation by Republicans on a heated election-year issue.
The Republican-sponsored “Save Women’s Sports Act” was passed by Arizona lawmakers and by the Oklahoma Legislature on Thursday.
In Kentucky, lawmakers passed SB 83, which would ban transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports from sixth grade through college. The bill now goes to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat.
Democrats have generally supported rights for LGBTQ+ people and opposed restrictions on participation in sports teams for transgender students.
Supporters of these bans argue they are needed to ensure transgender athletes do not have an unfair advantage in sports. Opponents of the bans, including advocates for transgender people and organizations like the Women’s Sports Foundation, say that such measures are discriminatory.
Governors in states including Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Iowa have already signed into law bills that ban transgender girls from competing in girls’ sports.
Similar bills for a ban on trans athletes were vetoed by the governors of Utah and Indiana this week, signaling the reluctance of some Republican leaders to align with the broader party that sees the issue as a winning strategy to attract voters ahead of U.S. congressional elections in November.
Republican lawmakers in both states said earlier this week they planned to override the governor’s vetoes.