Wisconsin Gov. Evers vetoes transgender high school athletics ban, decries “radical policies targeting LGBTQ”

Talking Points: Minnesota is now safe haven for transgender community (Part 1)

Talking Points: Minnesota is now safe haven for transgender community (Part 1)


Wisconsin’s governor vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have banned high school transgender athletes from competing on teams that align with their gender identity, promising he would veto “any bill that makes Wisconsin a less safe, less inclusive, and less welcoming place for LGBTQ people and kids.”

The bill had passed the Republican-controlled Legislature despite Evers vowing he would veto it from the moment it was introduced. While Democrats did not have the votes to stop its passage in the Legislature, now Republicans don’t have the votes needed to override the veto.

Evers said in his veto message that this type of legislation “harms LGBTQ Wisconsinites’ and kids’ mental health, emboldens anti-LGBTQ harassment, bullying, and violence, and threatens the safety and dignity of LGBTQ Wisconsinites, especially our LGBTQ kids.”

Evers vetoed it in the Capitol surrounded by Democratic lawmakers, transgender advocates, the mayor of Madison and others.

Republican Rep. Barb Dittrich, who sponsored the bill, called Evers’ veto “disgusting” and accused him of “misogynistic and hateful position towards actual females.”

“His veto today clearly demonstrates his disrespect for women and girls as well as for protecting their hard-fought achievements,” Dittrich said in a statement.

The bill proposed to limit high school athletes to playing on teams that match the gender they were assigned at birth.

Republicans who backed the bill argued it was a matter of fairness for non-transgender athletes. But bill opponents argued there was no real issue with transgender high school athletes in Wisconsin and said the proposed ban was a form of discrimination and harmful to transgender youth.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association requires transgender athletes to undergo hormone therapy before they can play on the teams of their choice. The association’s policy is modeled after NCAA requirements for transgender athletes.

At least 20 states have approved a version of a blanket ban on transgender athletes playing on K-12 and collegiate sports teams statewide, but a Biden administration proposal to forbid such outright bans is set to be finalized this year after multiple delays and much pushback. As proposed, the rule would establish that blanket bans would violate Title IX, the landmark gender-equity legislation enacted in 1972.

Neighboring Minnesota has recently passed a number of bills that proponents say make it a refuge state for LGBTQ+ youth, including a bill banning conversion therapy. Additionally, Minnesota lawmakers recently passed legislation that aimed to make Minnesota a “refuge” for transgender persons in general. Those pushing the legislation forward said it would protect trans patients and providers of gender-affirming care from legal action in other states where such care is banned or restricted, creating a safe haven in Minnesota.

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