West Virginia Governor Jim Justice on Wednesday signed a bill prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in school sports teams that match their gender.
On Friday, urged by MSNBC presenter Stephanie Ruhle to give the example of a trans child “trying to gain an unfair competitive advantage” at a state school, Justice, a Republican, said he could not.
“I don’t have that experience for me right now,” Justice said. When she squeezed him harder, he said, “I can’t really tell you one, but I can tell you this, Stephanie: I’m a coach. I coach a girls’ basketball team and I can tell you that we all know what an absolute advantage boys would have to play against girls.
Ruhle replied: “But sir, you have no example of what is going on.” She added, “Why would you take your time to do this? Let’s talk about other things that I can give you examples of in your state. According to US News & World Report, West Virginia ranks 45th in education, 47th in health care, 48th in economics and 50th in infrastructure. If you can’t give me a single example of a kid doing this, why would you make it a priority? I just named four things that I think are a much higher priority.
Justice said the bill was not a priority for him – it had simply been sent to his office.
“I mean, it just came to me, and I absolutely signed it, because I believe from a coach’s point of view, I believe girls work so hard to get Title IX, and I have no idea now why we are trying to put them at a disadvantage by participating in a sport in which they invest so much, ”he said.
Thirty-five bills were introduced in state legislatures this year to ban transgender student athletes, especially trans girls, from participating in school sports teams that match their gender, although experts have said that the bills had no scientific or research basis.
Ruhle’s interview with Justice captures what LGBTQ advocates have said is a common problem with the ban on trans athletes: They are a solution in search of a problem.
Of the more than two dozen lawmakers who have sponsored the ban on trans athletes, only a few could provide examples of where competing trans athletes have caused a problem, according to the Associated Press.
Yet more and more states are passing the bills. West Virginia joined six other states where governors have signed bans on trans athletes: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota and Tennessee, although a federal judge has Blocked Idaho’s law from coming into effect in August.
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