Lawmakers Vote to Prohibit Minors' Transgender Surgery

Arizona governor hasn't said if he'll sign bill, which also restricts athletes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 24, 2022 5:25 PM CDT
Lawmakers Vote to Prohibit Minors' Transgender Surgery
The Arizona House of Representatives meets in 2011 in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

The Arizona Legislature passed bills Thursday to prohibit gender reassignment surgery for minors and transgender athletes from playing on girls sports teams, joining a growing list of Republican-controlled states attempting to restrict transgender rights as they gain more visibility in culture and society. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has not said whether he will sign either bill, the AP reports. Two GOP governors this week bucked conservatives in their party and vetoed bills in Indiana and Utah requiring trans girls to play on boys sports teams.

Republicans have said blocking transgender athletes from girls sports teams would protect the integrity of women's sports, claiming that trans athletes would have an advantage. Many point to the transgender collegiate swimmer Lia Thomas, who won an individual title at the NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championship last week. But there are few trans athletes in Arizona schools. Since 2017, about 16 trans athletes have received waivers to play on teams that align with their gender identities out of about 170,000 high school athletes in the state, according to the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

"This bill to me is all about biology," said Republican Rep. Shawnna Bolick. "In my opinion, it's unfair to allow biological males to compete with biological girls sports." Opponents said the legislation dehumanizes trans youth to address an issue that hasn't been a problem. "We're talking about legislating bullying against children who are already struggling just to get by," said Democratic Rep. Kelli Butler. Until two years ago, no state had passed a law regulating gender-designated youth sports. But the issue has come front and center in Republican-led statehouses since Idaho lawmakers passed the nation's first sports participation law in 2020. That law is now blocked in court, along with another in West Virginia.

(Read more transgender stories.)

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