The Utah Senate Health and Human Services Committee moved to adjourn without voting on House Bill 302, after state governor Spencer Cox condemned it, saying he would not sign it as it is currently written. HB 302, which was proposed by state representative Kera Birkeland, stated trans students should not be allowed to participate in school sports, making Utah one of 17 states which has considered such regulations.
Although the bill was passed by the Utah Senate in a 6-8 vote, its success is now unlikely after Cox said in a press conference: “If you have not spent time with transgender youth, then I would encourage you to pause on this issue. We have so many people who are in a very difficult spot right now. These kids…are just trying to stay alive. You know, there is a reason none of them are playing sports. And so, I just think there is a better way, and I hope that there will be enough grace in our state to find a better solution.”
The Human Rights Watch has also spoken out against the rising number of bills against trans athletes, saying there is not actually an issue with trans participation in sports: “These bills are not addressing any real problem, and they’re not being requested by constituents. Rather, this effort is being driven by national far-right organizations attempting to sow fear and hate. Opposing equality is highly unpopular – even among Trump voters – and states that pass legislation that attacks our community will face severe economic, legal, and reputational harm.”
A recent study also found that trans athletes pose no threat to cisgender women. The report argued there is no evidence to “support the claim that allowing transgender athletes to participate will reduce or harm participation in girls’ sports” and suggested anti-trans rhetoric relies on “scare tactics, stereotypes, and unwarranted claims that transgender women have a physiological advantage over cisgender women.”