Montana has become the latest US state to officially pass a law to prohibit trans athletes from participating in school sports after governor Greg Gianforte signed the bill on May 7. LGBTQ+ activists have criticised state lawmakers, with Alex Rate, legal director of ACLU Montana, saying: “If you look at the legislature’s justification for advancing the transgender sports ban, they could cite not one instance where transgender participation in athletics has been a problem or caused conflict.”
Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and West Virginia have already passed bills to prevent trans inclusion in sports, with several other states currently considering similar legislation. According to the Human Rights Campaign, more anti-LGBTQ+ laws have been passed in 2021 compared to any other year on record. Sixteen bills have already been passed, including those against trans athletes.
Four bills permitting discrimination against LGBTQ+ people on the basis of religious beliefs have been signed into law, as well as two which allow parents to remove their child from LGBTQ+ education classes in schools. In response to the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ bills, HRC president, Alphonso David, said: “This crisis cannot be ignored and necessitates concrete action from all those with the ability to speak out. These bills are not only harmful and discriminatory, but also represent a failure in our democracy and the commitment elected officials make to protect and serve their constituents.”