Oklahoma, Arizona govs sign Save Women’s Sports Acts: 'We are ensuring a level playing field'

"These talented, hardworking young women are the reason we are here," he said.

Updated: March 30, 2022 - 4:45pm

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Both Oklahoma and Arizona enacted their own versions of the "Save Women's Sports Act" on Wednesday, preventing transgender student athletes who are biological males from competing against females.

Athletic teams "designated for 'females,' 'women,' or 'girls' shall not be open to students of the male sex," both the Oklahoma and the Arizona bills read. The laws affect public schools and colleges as well as private schools that compete against public schools.

Arizona's governor also signed a bill on Wednesday to prevent minors from undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

In a letter about the two transgender bills in his state, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey wrote, "This legislation is common-sense and narrowly-targeted to address these two specific issues ⁠— while ensuring that transgender individuals continue to receive the same dignity, respect and kindness as every individual in our society."

Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the bill while surrounded by women athletes, including his teenage daughter, Piper.

"These talented, hardworking young women are the reason we are here," he said. "This bill – the Save Women’s Sports Act – is common sense."

Parents of student athletes will have to sign an affidavit acknowledging their child's biological sex, while students who are over the age of 18 will have to sign the affidavit for themselves.

"We are protecting women’s sports," Stitt said. "We are ensuring a level playing field for female athletes who work hard - Who train hard - Who are committed to their team - Who have dreams to be Number One in their sport - Who deserve a fair competition."

He added, "The reality is: Men are biologically different than women."

"Every young Arizona athlete should have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities that give them a sense of belonging and allow them to grow and thrive," Ducey wrote.

The Arizona governor also wrote that his other law enacted on Wednesday "delays any irreversible gender reassignment surgery until the age of 18... The reason is simple, and common sense – this is a decision that will dramatically affect the rest of an individual’s life, including the ability of that individual to become a biological parent later in life."

Oklahoma and Arizona are the fourth and fifth states this year to enact a law on transgender student athletes after Iowa, South Dakota, and Utah. Similar measures have taken effect in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia, per CNN.

LGBT activists took to Twitter to criticize the laws.

"The day before Trans Day of Visibility, Oklahoma has become the 13th state to ban trans girls from playing on sports teams. These are children. These are kids who are ostracized and told by state governments that they're unwelcome around other kids," LGBT activist Charlotte Clymer tweeted.

"The GOP's continued demonization of trans kids and their families is horrific," political group Swing Left tweeted.

The laws come as transgender athlete Lia Thomas made headlines over the past several months for winning women's college swimming competitions and setting records.

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