By Doreen Denny, Vice President of Government Relations
In the past two weeks, we have seen significant progress in the fight against radical gender ideology in the states. Importantly, many state legislatures are embracing these debates generating greater awareness of the realities and harms at stake. They are also underscoring the necessity of having governors of courage.
Last week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Arkansas) joined Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Mississippi) in signing the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” into law. These are notable victories following Idaho’s enactment of the first such bill last year signed by Gov. Eric Little (R-Idaho) and immediately challenged, as expected, in a lawsuit leveled by the ACLU.
Gov. Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota) did the opposite. She responded to the passage of a popular House Bill promoting continued fairness in women’s sports with a “form and style” veto capitulating to noisy activists and dubious NCAA threats. Noem demanded the South Dakota legislature rewrite big portions of the bill, including removing protections for college women athletes. By putting a price tag on winning her signature, she effectively torpedoed the bill causing female athletes in her state to lose out.
Big majorities of the public agree on protecting women’s sports for female athletes, so why the fear? Assuring fair play for women and girls based on biological sex, not gender identity, should be something on which we can all agree. It should be a matter of biological fact, physiological advantage, and basic civil rights, not partisanship or political activism. Male athletes should not be competing in women’s sports, regardless of how they identify.
The governor’s surrender in South Dakota contrasted acts of courage by governors in Mississippi and Arkansas. It will take governors of courage across America to turn the tide toward regaining women’s rights as athletes and against hyped threats from left-wing activists, the ACLU, NCAA, woke corporations, and the Biden-Harris administration, which has thrown the gauntlet further. More governors may have the opportunity to make this choice in the coming weeks.
Women’s sports is not the only place radical gender ideology has taken root. It is also happening on social media, in school counseling offices, and in transgender pediatric clinics where children and youth are only affirmed in their self-declared “gender identities” with irreversible medical and surgical treatments. It takes courage to stand against the Big Gender interests behind this craze damaging our daughters.
This week, Gov. Hutchinson acted in opposite fashion on the issue of protecting children from transgender promotion. Hutchinson vetoed a bill called the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act which would prevent experimental gender treatments and surgeries on minors, citing “government overreach” (even though many government laws shield the health and safety of children from harm). A veto-proof majority had passed the measure in both Arkansas chambers and quickly chided the governor’s retreat by overriding his veto. We applaud their courage to lead and enact the first child protection bill of its kind in the nation.
A greedy and negligent medical industry is shrouding the truth about the rising incidence of gender dysphoria, disregarding the reckless and harmful nature of treatment and denying children, who have no capacity for informed consent, the ability to grow up and out of dysphoric conditions. Instead, medical activists tell parents it is the “standard of care” and the best way to deal with gender-confusion and depression. They compel life-altering decisions that stop normal development and place children on a never-ending road of opposite sex hormone treatments that make empty promises about becoming the opposite sex – a scientific impossibility.
South Dakota was in a similar battle last year where the same governor postured concern instead of conviction over what it sought to address: the serious damage to children being inflicted by promoters of transgender medical experiments on youth. She aided the bill’s defeat in a Senate committee.
Courageous leaders in Congress are joining legislators in other states in protecting women’s sports and protecting children, most notably in South Carolina, where Democrat Representative Cezar McKnight is spearheading a bipartisan bill, the “South Carolina Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act,” to shield children from reckless transgender treatment. These leaders need encouragement for their courageous stand.
Concerned Women for America is committed to our role in educating policymakers and citizens on these issues and being a voice of courage standing against radical gender ideology as a promise to America’s children. Our prayer is that all governors will respond to the momentum in their states on these serious issues confronting our culture by standing for truth, at such a time as this, and leading the way.