South Carolina has become the latest state to ban transgender students from fully participating in school athletics.
House Bill 4608 (HB 4608), also called the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” was signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday.
The law mandates student-athletes to play on sports teams that correspond with the sex recorded on their birth certificate on or near the time of their birth.
“The Save Women’s Sports Act is now the law of the land in South Carolina. We have to do everything we can to protect the young men and women in our state who choose to pursue athletic competition, and that’s why I proudly signed this bill into law yesterday,” McMaster tweeted. “It’s common sense, boys should play boys sports and girls should play girls sports.”
Governors in Oklahoma, Arizona and Tennessee recently signed similar bills into law this year.
The SC United for Justice & Equality coalition has vowed to fight the legislation.
“It pains us to see lawmakers in South Carolina, and now the governor, ignore the voices of thousands of South Carolinians – including parents, medical providers, students, faith leaders, and transgender people ourselves – who expressed loudly and clearly that this bill will harm young people in our state,” Gender Benders Executive Director Campaign for Southern Equality Community Health Program Director Ivy Hill said.
“Transgender youth are not a threat to fairness in sports, and this law now needlessly stigmatizes young people who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence, make friends, and build skills like teamwork and leadership, winning and losing.”
Several other LGBTQ+ advocates and health experts have condemned the law.
“Like every one of the sports bans we’ve seen passed across the country over the last three years, this is a solution in search of a problem, and it will only work to increase the isolation and stigmatization of an already-marginalized group of students,” Sam Ames, director for advocacy and government affairs at the LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project, said in a statement.