Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Too many leaders at the Statehouse can’t seem to keep out of people’s pants. Every session, they try to tell women what they can and can’t do with their vaginas. They’ve been known to tell people what bathroom to use. And now they want to keep transgender athletes who identify as female from participating in women’s sports.

Boil it down and the legislature is doing what it’s long done — working on another way to discriminate against South Carolinians. It’s preying upon fear, misinformation, disinformation and ignorance to segregate another class of people — this time vulnerable students who are grappling with their gender identity — to score points and make something private become red meat at the polls.

It’s wrong. And it sends another message that South Carolina wants to regress to the 1950s, not prepare for the 2050s. 

Last week in the South Carolina House of Representatives, 80 apparently gender-obsessed, mostly Republican legislators voted to approve H. 4606, the so-called “Save Women’s Sports Act.” It discriminates against transgender athletes at secondary schools and colleges by holding “athletic teams or sports designated for females, women or girls may not be open to students of the male sex.” Interestingly, the proposed measure, which now heads to the state Senate, is OK with biological women participating in men’s sports.

Legislators’ reasoning for the discrimination in female programs is fairness, which suspiciously sounds like the same kind of justification of people who still say the Civil War was fought over state’s rights, not slavery.

Unfortunately, legislators are whipping up public fervor when there’s already a workable situation at the S.C. High School Sports League to deal with transgender athletes who want to play female sports. In recent years, just five transgender students have appealed rulings to play on women’s teams; three were approved. [South Carolina has about 800,000 public school students in grades K-12.]

Yet the House apparently knows better and wants this law also to protect students who tattle on a peer’s biological gender. That, too, is wrong. We shouldn’t pass any law that has the possible consequence of encouraging examination of kids’ genitals to determine which sports field they play on.

Not only is the bill for the Save Women’s Sports Act discriminatory, but it’s just plain stupid. Gender identity isn’t as simple as XX chromosomes for women and XY for men. There are XXY people in the population. How would the Einsteins in the legislature classify them? Could they play on a men’s or women’s sports team, or both?

South Carolina has too long of a history of discrimination. In the past, the state has approved of enslaving people and segregating schools, lunch counters and water fountains. They banned interracial and gay marriage, excluded women from voting and institutionalized religious discrimination. To this day, South Carolina is just one of two states without a hate crimes law. 

Let’s not continue the stain of discrimination by picking on another minority — transgender kids. Let’s hope the state Senate will throw out this ignorant proposal.

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