NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The city of New Orleans came out strongly today against legislative bills that would restrict transgender athletes from competing in women’s high school sports. The NCAA says next year’s Final Four in New Orleans could be at stake because of one of those bills.
The Louisiana legislature is about to consider several bills dealing with transgender youth, including one that would ban transgender’s from participating in female athletics.
“There were bills like this filed in every state that touches Louisiana across the south,” said Dylan Waguespack, with Louisiana Trans Advocates.
The bill as proposed by Representative Beryl Amedee (R-Houma) says that ‘women’s performances at the high level will never match those of men.’
And its drawing strong opposition from the group Louisiana trans advocates.
“I don’t think we can say with any consistency that anyone has a competitive advantage over anyone else,” said Waguespack.
The City Of New Orleans opposes the legislation.
“In addition to the fact that it’s wrong it’s economically dangerous,” said city spokesman Beau Tidwell.
The NCAA picked New Orleans to host next year’s final four but released a statement earlier this week saying it would only host championship events in states that are “safe, healthy and free of discrimination.” That means if the trans gender bill passes New Orleans could miss out on a huge tourist draw.
“It will be significant, we saw the impact of the final four in Indianapolis this year at over $100 million that’s not insignificant and New Orleans would probably draw even more people,” said Waguespack.
Aside from an economic impact in the tens of millions of dollars city officials say the transgender bills are simply bad legislation.
“Legislation that discriminates against one group versus another is just bad legislation so apart from the economic impact the idea that there’s legislation moving through Baton Rouge right now that discriminate against some of our residents is not acceptable to us,” said Tidwell.
Dylan Waguespack with Louisiana trans advocates says the Louisiana high school athletic association already has tough restrictions against transgender athletes.
“There is a restrictive policy in place at the high school level that’s so over the top but there’s not a single transgender person playing at Louisiana high schools right now,” Waguespack said.
Louisiana Trans Advocates, which has 3000 members, says transgender students deserve the same opportunities afforded their classmates, And they vow to fight the proposed legislation.
New Orleans landed an NBA all star game back in 2017, after North Carolina adopted a restrictive transgender rule. Officials are hopeful that the same thing won’t happen here when it comes to next year’s final four. We reached out to the transgender bill sponsor but have not heard back
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