Transgender sports bill headed to South Carolina governor

The bill requires South Carolina’s sports associations to sanction girls wrestling
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SC Gov. Henry McMaster
South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster.
(Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

A bill that would prevent transgender athletes from competing in female sports in public middle and high schools and public universities is headed to South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster for his signature.

The South Carolina Senate made a slight amendment to the bill while passing the measure on May 4 and the House then concurred on the change this week.

The Save Women’s Sports Act, House Bill 4608, would allow those who were female on their birth certificates to compete on male sports teams, but those who were designated male on their birth certificates cannot compete on girls sports teams.

“I feel that, despite the very strong feelings that are evoked and are involved with many in this body, this bill is not anti-trans athletes in my view,” said Sen. Penry Gustafson, R-Kershaw. “It’s focus should be understanding, recognizing and acknowledging the importance of protecting athletic opportunities for biological females in women’s sports. I’m sorry but no one will convince me that a trans athlete on a female sports team does not have a significant and unfair physical advantage over both their teammates and their opposing female athletes.”

The bill requires South Carolina’s sports associations to sanction girls wrestling.

The bill says schools are required to designate what gender a student was on their birth certificate and allows for lawsuits from students who were denied an opportunity because a school or group did not follow the rule. The bill also would allow schools to sue for relief if they receive any direct or indirect harm because of the legislation.

Those legal actions must take place within two years after the alleged harm occurred. The bill was amended in the Senate to remove references to what the student or school could be awarded in civil court.

Sen. Mia McLeod, D-Richland, opposed the bill, asking her fellow senators to “stop legislating issues you know nothing about. That would be a good place to start.”