Integrity Score 902
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Although West Virginia has already imposed a law banning transgender girls and femme athletes, the state is not satisfied with its extent of transphobia: a bill by Republican Delegate Steve Westfall attempts to further create a gender essentialist state by imposing an unscientific sex binary.
In line with 75 bills this year that attempt to ban – or have already banned – trans youth from sports, West Virginia’s bill attempts to reduce all student athletes to their bodies, through its categorization of what it means to be a ‘man’ or ‘woman’.
“The legislature finds that there are ‘inherent differences between men and women,’ and that these differences remain cause for celebration, but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual's opportunity,’” the proposed act states, in a clumsy attempt to defend a gender binary that has never existed.
The bill proceeds to dismiss women athletes, claiming that their talent, commitment and grit will never match up to men and carries on the institutional erasure of intersex people through their unscientific and baseless claims about dividing young athletes in line with a binary that has never existed.
It would also give cisgender students the power to demand ‘compensation’ for playing with their transgender peers, and to get “relief” for “damages” from a school that calls out transphobia and attempts to create a safe space for trans athletes. It lets cisgender students sue schools that allows trans athletes to participate; gives schools the power to sue if their team competes with a team that has trans athletes; and safeguards anti-trans policies by not allowing government entities to challenge the ban.
These bills encourage cisgender youth to discriminate against trans youth, and endorse state-sanctioned transmisogyny, which is increasingly putting children at risk for being who they are – 85 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth said in a poll, that their mental health was negatively impacted by last year’s record-breaking legislative attacks on their identities.
WV HB 2676 is active.