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Wyoming passes transgender athlete ban

Wyoming joins many other Republican-led states that have moved to tie participation in sports to one's biological sex.

Published: March 20, 2023 2:58pm

Updated: March 20, 2023 3:52pm

Wyoming Republican Gov. Mark Gordon decided not to veto a statewide ban on transgender participation in women's sports, which will take effect July 1.

Gordon expressed concerns that such a ban was unnecessary and wrote to state Attorney General Chuck Gray, according to The Hill. The governor opined that "the ban included in this legislation is overly draconian, is discriminatory without attention to individual circumstances or mitigating factors, and pays little attention to fundamental principles of equality."

Despite his reservations, however, Gordon ultimately allowed the legislation to pass into law unchallenged on Friday. Accordingly, 7th-12th grade transgender individuals will be barred from competing on women's sports teams. An existing state policy from 2014 already requires students to participate in sports consistent with their biological sex, though it allows for some exceptions.

Of particular concern to Gordon is the possibility that the law will face legal challenge for possible Title IX violations. Writing to Gray, he said "[i]t is difficult for me to sign legislation into law that knowingly will cost the taxpayers money to litigate and may be challenged under Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution."

He further cited potentially detrimental effects to the mental health of affected students, saying a full ban indicates the state believes "that these individuals and their families do not deserve the same opportunities as others."

The law itself earmarks $100,000 to create a commission that may determine eligibility for participation in sports.

Wyoming joins 18 other Republican-led states that have moved to tie participation in sports to one's biological sex. In one such instance, Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a comparable ban, but was overruled by Republicans in the state legislature.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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