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.