New York, NY (March 11, 2021) — Athlete Ally responded today to news that Mississippi has become the first U.S. state in 2021 to pass legislation banning transgender girls from sports with Governor Tate Reeves’ signing of the so-called “Mississippi Fairness Act”, SB 2356. This bill would require any public school and university that is a member of the Mississippi High School Activities Association and the NCAA, among other associations, to designate their athletic teams as male, female or co-ed and restrict transgender girl athletes from joining girl’s and women’s teams.
Mississippi’s bill is one of more than 25 introduced so far in 2021 that would ban transgender girls from participating in sports. As is the case with the vast majority of bills introduced, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Angela Hill, could not cite any example of transgender girls competing on girl’s teams within the state.
“The Mississippi Fairness Act is deeply unfair to children who simply want to participate in sports alongside their peers,” said Anne Lieberman, Director of Policy and Programs at Athlete Ally. “When transgender girls are included in sports, participations rates for girls are stronger, and all children are able to benefit from the teamwork, discipline and lifelong friendships sport brings. And when lawmakers pass bills like this one, it not only has devastating mental and physical effects on transgender youth who simply want to be who they are and play the sport they love — it also hurts their friends and teammates, and goes against the values of inclusion that make teams their best.
Mississippi is no longer a safe place for athletic competitions or events. We are committed to fighting for the right of every LGBTQI+ athlete to be safe, welcome and included at all levels of sport, and we are fighting to have this discriminatory bill overturned.
Our message to all state legislature with bills attacking trans youth is this: you have a choice to create safe, welcoming environments for all of your constituents, or to choose hate and division. Please stand on the right side of history.”