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Arizona Governor Ducey signs law banning transgender women from playing women’s sports

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Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a pair of bills on Wednesday, one that bars transgender girls from participating in women’s school sports and another that bans gender reassignment surgery for underage girls. of State.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey answers a question during a press conference in Phoenix on March 19, 2021.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The two “common sense” measures – Senate Bill 1138 and Senate Bill 1165 – were signed in a bid to ensure “that girls and young women who have dedicated themselves to their sport do not miss no hard-won opportunities,” according to the governor.

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SB 1138 states that a “physician or other health care professional may not provide gender transition procedures to a person under the age of eighteen.” SB 1165 prevents transgender girls from playing on girls’ teams. And it requires that “every interscholastic or intramural sports team or sport that is sponsored by a public school or private school whose students compete against a public school” designate a gendered name to the team based on the participants’ biological sex. . For example, ‘boys’, ‘girls’, ‘men’, ‘women’ or ‘students’ are some of the accepted designations teams can give each other.

“Today I signed SB 1138 and SB 1165, legislation to protect participation and fairness for female athletes and to ensure that those undergoing irreversible sex reassignment surgery are of legal age,” wrote Ducey in a letter to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

Ducey said the legislation is “common sense and narrowly focused on addressing” the state’s problems while ensuring that the state’s transgender residents continue to receive the same “dignity, respect and kindness as every individual in our society”.

Writing about the gender reassignment in the letter, Ducey said: “The irreversible nature of these procedures underscores why such a decision should be made as an adult, not a child, and further reinforces the importance of this legislation.

Ducey during her 2020 State of the State address as Senate Speaker Karen Fann, R-Prescott, right, and House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, left, listen on the day of the opening of the legislative session at the Capitol in Phoenix.

Ducey during her 2020 State of the State address as Senate Speaker Karen Fann, R-Prescott, right, and House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, left, listen on the day of the opening of the legislative session at the Capitol in Phoenix.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Although the law does not allow transgender women to participate in girls’ sports, it does not prevent them from participating in other school sports that are not designated as “feminine.” The law also does not apply to sports leagues or clubs outside of school.

Angela Hughey, president and founder of ONE Community, an organization that emphasizes “diversity, inclusion, equity and equality,” criticized Ducey for signing the measures.

“My biggest concern is that the governor has decided to put the most vulnerable members of Arizona’s LGBTQ community at risk,” Hughey told KTAR News. “Clearly he doesn’t understand that as governor, his duty as CEO of the State of Arizona is to protect all Arizonans.”

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“We know that LGBTQ youth, and especially trans youth, have a higher rate of suicidal ideation, and so we know that they are our most vulnerable children, and we really need to do whatever we can for us. ensure they have the opportunity to thrive as the young people that they are,” added Hughey.

Since 2017, about 16 trans athletes have requested waivers to play on teams that match their gender identity out of about 170,000 high school athletes in the state, and not all have been granted, according to the Arizona Interscholastic Association. .

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signs a bill in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, that bars transgender girls and women from competing on women's sports teams.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signs a bill in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, that bars transgender girls and women from competing on women’s sports teams.
(AP Photo/Sean Murphy)

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a similar bill into law on Wednesday, also calling the measure “just common sense.”

“When it comes to sports and athletics, girls should compete with girls,” Stitt said. “Boys should compete with boys. And let’s be very clear: that’s all this bill says.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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