Gov. Henry McMaster has signed into law a bill that will require transgender athletes to compete on teams that represent their birth-assigned gender.
The “Save Women’s Sports Act” requires athletes in South Carolina schools from the elementary to college levels to compete based on the gender to which they were assigned at birth.
The law would prohibt transgender girls and women from competing in girls’ and women’s teams.
The law went to McMaster’s desk after the House voted to agree to changes the Sentate made to the bill last week.
A similar proposal was twice blocked in the House Judiciary Committee last spring even as nearly a dozen other states, all Republican-led, passed their own laws preventing transgender students from playing on girls sports teams.
In response to the governor’s signature, the SC United for Justice & Equality coalition vowed it will explore “every possible option” to secure dignity and equality for transgender youth in the state.
“It pains us to see lawmakers in South Carolina, and now the governor, ignore the voices of thousands of South Carolinians – including parents, medical providers, students, faith leaders, and transgender people ourselves – who expressed loudly and clearly that this bill will harm young people in our state,” Gender Benders Executive Director Campaign for Southern Equality Community Health Program Director Ivy Hill said. “Transgender youth are not a threat to fairness in sports, and this law now needlessly stigmatizes young people who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence, make friends, and build skills like teamwork and leadership, winning and losing.”
More than a dozen other conservative states in requiring transgender students to compete with the gender listed on their birth certificates. Idaho passed the first ban in 2020. Its law and a similar law in West Virginia have been blocked by courts.