Arkansas bans trans women, girls from school sports that align with their gender identity
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed a law Thursday barring transgender women and girls from participating in school sports that align with their gender identity.
Why it matters: Republicans in at least 25 states have introduced more than 60 bills targeting trans youth since January. Arkansas is the latest state to pursue school sports as a vehicle for anti-trans legislation.
Details: The ban covers both K-12 and collegiate sports, and will take effect this summer if it's not blocked by a legal challenge.
- Under the new law, any student or school that suffers "direct or indirect harm" can sue for violating the ban, AP reports.
What they're saying: The law will help "promote and maintain fairness in women's sporting events," Hutchinson said in a statement.
- Republicans have argued that trans women and girls have an unfair advantage in sports, but little evidence suggests that trans women hold a competitive advantage over their cisgender counterparts, according to Axios' Jeff Tracy.
- "Banning trans athletes is cruel and wrong, but it’s also illegal," the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted after the bill became law.
Medical and child-welfare groups say the measure could cause long-lasting damage to trans youth, per AP.
The big picture: Significant research has found that athletic participation can offer trans youth a number of benefits, including higher self-esteem and fewer depressive symptoms.
- Hundreds of college athletes have pushed the NCAA to turn away from holding championships in states with such bans, per AP.