Republican Utah Governor Vetoed a Trans Sports Ban Bill. It Will Pass Anyway.


The anti-trans sports bill in Utah — which would ban transgender girls from playing girls sports in school — was vetoed by Republican Governor Spencer Cox on March 22nd, 2022.

The veto, which is almost assuredly going to be overridden by state lawmakers, comes at a time when the rights of transgender children and their parents are being dismantled on many levels in state legislatures across the country.

In the letter, Governor Cox dives into many of the reasons as to why he chose to veto the bill, ranging from the financial to legal implications of what could happen. He noted the divisiveness of the issue, and that the bill has “several fundamental flaws” that “should be reconsidered” like that the bill would decimate local schools with legal fees. And although Cox says he wants to “protect the integrity of women’s sports,” (experts say that the integrity of women’s sports is not at risk if trans people are allowed to play in them) he also noted facts that made him reconsider signing the bill.

In his letter, he said that “it would be much easier and better for me to simply sign the bill,” for political reasons, but when he looked at the statistics, they didn’t make any sense to him.

“I must admit, I am not an expert on transgenderism [sic]. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting,” he stated in the letter. “When in doubt, however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy, and compassion. I also try to get proximate, and I am learning so much from our transgender community. They are great kids who face enormous struggles.”

He then broke down his decision into five statistics that “have most impacted [his] decision:”

75,000 high school kids participating in high school sports in Utah.
4 transgender kids playing high school sports in Utah.
1 transgender student playing girls sports.
86 percent of trans youth reporting suicidality.
56 percent of trans youth having attempted suicide.

Governor Cox focused on that second statistic: that only 4 transgender teens are playing high school sports in the state. “Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships,” he wrote. “Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day. Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few,” he added.

And of the four kids in question who would be impacted by this policy, Cox said: “I want them to live…All the research shows even a little acceptance and connection can reduce suicidality significantly.” In other words, for all of the questions he has about trans players playing sports — which are enumerated in the document — he states that wanting to support and love the kids is his main reason for vetoing the bill.

An override of his veto seems nearly guaranteed, with a vote on the issue scheduled for Friday. Anticipating that future, Cox said: “I hope we can work to find ways to show these four kids that we love them and they have a place in our state.”

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The post Republican Utah Governor Vetoed a Trans Sports Ban Bill. It Will Pass Anyway. appeared first on Fatherly.

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