West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has officially signed a bill that prohibits transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports during middle school, high school, and college.
The governor made the controversial decision after states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi passed similar policies this year.
The bill’s original version did not include the college component, but the state Senate decided to add it to ensure the “protection” of biological female athletes in colleges and universities.
Earlier this week, Justice stated that he would “proudly” sign the bill even after being warned that the NCAA could cancel all college tournaments in West Virginia.
“It concerns me that we may miss out on a really important sporting event or something like that that could come to West Virginia,” the governor said. “However, I think the benefits of it way outweigh the bad part of it.”
People Weigh in on Policy
The American Civil Liberties Union – West Virginia chapter condemned Justice’s signing of the bill.
“We regret the governor has signed this cruel and unlawful bill after refusing to meet with young transgender West Virginians and their family members,” the organization said, adding that it will sue the first school district that enforces this policy.
Unfortunately, Governor Justice has signed HB 3293, the trans athlete ban. Nothing he does changes the fact that trans girls are girls and trans boys are boys. We'll see the first school district that enforces this harmful law in court.
— ACLU of WV (@ACLU_WV) April 28, 2021
Fairness West Virginia Executive Director Andrew Schneider also emphasized that transgender “are worthy of love and support” and “deserve the chance to learn and grow in the classroom and on the field.”
On the other hand, Delegate John Mandt Jr. from R-Cabell County told WUSA9 that it is important “to protect young women and girls that want to compete against their own biological sex.”
“We just need to live and we need to be the people that we were born to be. Do I hate people or dislike them because of what they stand for? No, I do not. I can’t judge. I can only vote for certain things I believe in,” he explained.