Second Republican governor vetoes ban on transgender sports

The bans on transgender athletes being proposed by Republican state legislatures are so cruel and unnecessary that even some Republican governors are taking a stand against them. Utah governor Spencer Cox has just joined fellow Republican governor Eric Holcomb of Indiana in vetoing such legislation. In doing so, he offered some heart-warming words. (All boldfacing is mine.)

“I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion,” Cox wrote in a letter to Utah legislative leaders.

Shortly after announcing his veto, the governor also called for a special session to provide taxpayer funding for lawsuits filed against school districts and youth sports organizations, an apparent acknowledgement that his veto would not stand.

In Utah, there are four transgender players out of 85,000 who are competing in school sports after being ruled eligible by the state’s high school athletic association. Only one competes in girls sports. There are no public concerns about competitive advantages.

“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,” Cox said in the letter explaining his veto, in which he cited suicide rates for transgender youth. “Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few. I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live.”

Eleven states have enacted bans targeting transgender athletes — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

Lawmakers in at least 12 other states are considering some form of a ban on transgender student-athletes in youth sports, according to a tally from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

I wish that Cox’s words would be taken to heart by others instead of trying to marginalize them even further.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Wild guess here -- Cox and Holcomb do not plan to run for the Republican presidential nomination in ’24.

  2. Ada Christine says

    I’m fucking shocked that a republican governor referred to kindness, mercy and compassion and for once wasn’t an absolute hypocrite in the act. Good for him, i guess, but whew he’s not in good company

  3. says

    This is less a “change of heart” and more an admission of reality.

    Remember in 2016 and 2017, when cops came out against bathroom bills? I doubt they supported Trans people. More likely, they wanted to find evidence of “Trans predators in bathrooms!” so they looked for evidence, but then they found nothing. They came out in opposition only because they actually checked facts and realized they were wrong, something those governors were forced to do.

    If they hadn’t checked, they’d still support the hate laws.

  4. lanir says

    I don’t know of a lot of series where this is happening yet but trans people are starting to show up in tv shows. The two I know about are Sense8 and Star Trek: Discovery.

    The media isn’t particularly liberal and it’s definitely not progressive. But as capitalists they have an interest in niche markets and are they obviously find it worthwhile to include this topic in their shows. This seems to be one of the first big steps toward a general realization among the public that people with any given trait are still people.

  5. Trickster Goddess says


    They also a had a transgender superhero on Supergirl. The character was created for the TV show but has since been added to the DC comics continuity.

  6. jenorafeuer says

    @lanir, Trickster Goddess:
    And over in anime, people a couple of years ago were talking about the character ‘Lily’ in Zombieland Saga, who was a child actor born a boy but playing mostly girl’s parts, and in the show became an idol singer. In many ways the best part about her character is just how utterly matter-of-fact the show was on the matter during her character focus episode: yeah, she was born a boy, so? It doesn’t change how any of the other girls treat her.

    One of the anime I’ve been watching with friends lately is Miss Kuroitsu of the Monster Development Department, which is basically an office politics satire set in the offices of one of the villain organizations from s Sentai show, focused amongst the people who create the ‘monster of the week’. One of the early monsters was supposed to be a big werewolf, but one of the top-ranking executives of the organization wanted something cuter, so the werewolf ended up in a female body, but they didn’t get time to reprogram the brain too, so the character has some rather blatant dysmorphia issues. To her credit, Miss Kuroitsu does regularly still use male honorifics for ‘Wolf-kun’ (a fact which becomes plot-significant in one episode). Honestly, for all that it’s an organization explicitly bent on world domination, it’s remarkably progressive and portrayed as mostly a good place to work.

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