Montana governor signs cruel, dehumanising bill banning trans people from playing sports in latest attack on LGBT+ youth

Rep. Greg Gianforte

The governor of Montana has signed a cruel, dehumanising bill banning trans people from playing sports in the latest attack on LGBT+ rights.

Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law on Friday (7 May), making Montana the latest state to impose sanctions on trans people in sport.

Under the terms of the bill, trans people will be required to compete under the sex they were assigned at birth in school and university sports – meaning many trans people will effectively be blocked from participation.

Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia have already passed similar bills, while such laws banning trans people from participating in sports have been considered in more than 20 states.

The Republican lawmakers who have backed anti-trans sports bans often claim that such bills are necessary to protect women and girls in sport.

However, a review by the Associated Press found that sponsors of such bills were unable to provide any evidence that cis women and girls were losing out on opportunities to trans women and girls.

Montana bill makes 2021 the worst in recent history for LGBT+ people

Gianforte’s decision to sign the bill into law means that 2021 is officially the worst year in recent history for anti-LGBT+ state legislative attacks, surpassing the record set in 2015, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

A shocking 17 anti-LGBT+ bills have been signed into law in state legislatures so far this year, compared to 15 in 2015.

Meanwhile, 11 other anti-LGBT+ bills are sitting on governor’s desks waiting to be passed into law, while more than 260 bills targeting queer people are making their way through state legislatures. 127 of those bills specifically target trans people.

“The rights of LGBTQ people – and especially transgender people – across the country are being systematically threatened and undermined by national anti-LGBTQ groups coordinating with anti-equality lawmakers to wage an unprecedented war on the LGBTQ community,” Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign president said.

“In fact, some of these bills are similar to or even worse than anti-LGBTQ legislation that has been rejected in previous years, including the Indiana religious refusal bill of 2015 and North Carolina’s infamous HB2.

“Bills that have become law so far this year range from making it a felony to provide transgender youth with life saving health care to banning transgender girls from participating in sports to erasing LGBTQ people from school curriculum to granting broad licences to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

“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.

“Now is not the time for reluctance or passivity, it is time to take urgent action to protect the basic rights and humanity of LGBTQ people in America.”