Kansas anti-trans bill could lead to ‘genital inspections’ of kids

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Trans women and girls have been barred from competing in team sports in Kansas, after Republican lawmakers overrode a veto set out by the state’s governor. 

The midwestern state has become the 20th in the US to pass restrictions on trans student-athletes taking part in sports – part of a wider raft of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeping the country. 

There are concerns this could result in “genital inspections” for young people hoping to compete in sporting events.

Prior to the veto being overturned, Republican Barbara Wasinger, who brought the bill forward, was asked to explain during a house meeting how the legislation would be enforced. 

According to Buzzfeed News, she said this would be done during a student’s “sports physical” but when pressed if this would mean a genital inspection, she said she was unable to recall.

House Bill 2238 – dubbed The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act – has been vetoed three times in the past three years by Kansas governor Laura Kelly. 

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On 17 March, the Democrat rejected the bill for the third time, saying: “Let’s be clear about what this bill is all about: politics.” 

Kelly said the legislation would not increase test scores, help children read or write, or prepare them for the real world. Instead, Kelly added, it will “harm the mental health of our students”. 

On Wednesday (5 April), the Republican-controlled legislature voted in both the house and senate to overturn Kelly’s veto and pass the bill. 

Set to come into force on 1 July, the legislation will restrict trans women and girls from participating in female sports from kindergarten through to college. 

Trans men and boys, however, appear not to be affected by the law. 

“We know their real goal is to erase trans people”

Democrat Heather Meyer, who has a trans child, told CNN the bill will have an impact on her family and many others. 

“We love our kids and we want the best for them and part of that includes sporting activities,” she said.

“This is just another in a long line of anti-trans youth bills that is spreading across the country like wildfire.” 

In a statement, Micah Kubic, an executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas, said his organisation will continue to “vehemently support” trans youth and “their right to be their true selves in every aspect of their lives”. 

“The lawmakers who chose to take up space this session with extremist and dangerous political postures must reconcile their actions with what it costs the people – and children – of Kansas. 

D.C. Hiegert, LGBTQ+ legal fellow for the ACLU of Kansas, added that if Republicans were sincere about wanting to protect children they “wouldn’t have passed these discriminatory laws proven to harm Kansas kids”. 

Hiegert said: “We know their real goal is to erase trans people from public life and push us back into the closet.”

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