Cruel lawmakers pass yet another ‘hateful’ bill banning innocent trans kids from playing sport

A protester holds the trans flag and snaps in solidarity with other speakers, during a trans rights demonstration

Republican senators have passed a “hateful” bill that would ban trans youth in Arizona from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity.

Senate Bill 1165 (SB 1165) would restrict trans girls and women from being able to participate on sports teams that align with their gender identity at publicly-funded schools from grade school through college. It would also apply to any private schools that compete against public schools.

Sadly, the anti-trans legislation has now passed through the Arizona Senate on Wednesday (2 February) by a party-line vote. The bill won the support of all 16 Republican Senators and with 13 Democrats voting against the legislation.

The bill now heads to a House committee for debate.

Arizona Senate Democrats called out Republicans for unanimously passing the “hateful bill”, saying the legislation is “bullying transgender kids”.

“Arizona is in the third year of a pandemic, our schools face a $1.2 billion funding cut, rent/housing costs are skyrocketing and more,” they wrote on Twitter.

“So what are Republicans voting on today? Bullying transgender kids by preventing them from playing sports with their friends.”

Victoria Steele, a Democrat senator for Tucson, told AZ Mirror that the anti-trans bill will cause immense harm to youth in Arizona.

“This is going to have our girls pull down their panties and show their genitalia to prove they are who they know they are,” she said. “I just simply cannot believe that we are doing this.”

Steele continued: “I believed some sense of decency, of love for children, would come through and we would not do something that I believe will harm children… This is going to keep me up at night.”

Casey Pick, senior fellow for advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project, warned that the relentless legislative attacks on the trans community could have a devastating impact on young people in Arizona.

“We can promote both women’s sports and transgender inclusion at the same time – they are not mutually exclusive, as some politicians would have you believe,” Pick said.

“While Arizona lawmakers are devoting energy to a divisive solution in search of a problem, we know that transgender and non-binary young people are struggling and continue to face increased risk for bullying and suicide.”

Bridget Sharpe, Arizona state director for the Human Rights Campaign, told PinkNews that it was “disappointing” that Arizona lawmakers had passed such a “discriminatory bill”.

“Sports teach our kids important life lessons like discipline, teamwork, responsibility, and work ethic,” Sharpe said. “It is unjust and mean-spirited to single out transgender young people and rob them of the opportunity to play with their friends and learn those lessons.”

She continued: “Legislators are trying to score political points at the expense of our kids. It’s wrong and it must end.”

In its current form, SB 1165 would require that school sports teams are divided into males, females or coed teams based on the “biological sex of the students” who participate on the teams.

The bill also stated that an individual’s “sex is determined at [fertilisation] and revealed at birth or, increasingly, in utero”.

However, the legislation would seemingly not stop trans masculine individuals from being able to play on sports teams that align with their gender identity.

There is a section within the bill that states that it will not “restrict the eligibility of any student to participate in any interscholastic or intramural athletic team or sport designated as being for ‘males’, ‘men’ or ‘boys’ or designated as ‘coed’ or ‘mixed’”.

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (, or Mind on 0300 123 3393 ( ​Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.