Trans community miffed over the lack of a veto of the transgender athletes bill
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Transgender people in Louisiana are outraged that Governor John Bel Edwards allowed a controversial bill to become law instead of vetoing it. But Edwards suggested a veto would not have been allowed to stand.
“It’s one of utter dismay and frankly betrayal. We worked extensively to provide resources to the governor’s office to lay out the impact that this has on trans kids in Louisiana. We know that he vetoed it last year and that his reasons for vetoing last year stand this year,” said Corrine Green, a transgender woman who works with the Equality Federation.
“It’s very emotional still. It’s very hurtful that the governor that claims to be with us did not stand with us and veto the bill. Republican governors across the country have vetoed bills like this when they knew would be overridden,” said Peyton Rose Michelle, a trans member of Louisiana Trans Advocates.
Edwards vetoed a similar bill last year. But after the months-long legislative session ended on Monday evening, he told reporters it was obvious SB44 was going to become law no matter what he did.
“In the year since that bill was first put on my desk, there still hasn’t been a single instance in Louisiana of a trans-girl participating in sports. However, it was obvious to me, after two years, when both the House and the Senate passed it by more than a two-thirds vote and with conversations I had with legislators, especially this year because the scope of the bill was reduced at least slightly when they took out intramural sports, that Senate Bill 44 was going to become law whether or not I signed it or vetoed it,” said Edwards.
He said his position on the measure has not changed.
“And I think it is unfortunate, but it is where we are,” said Edwards. “I just think we can be better than that bill.”
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“The bill basically sets a standard that a biological woman deserves fairness in sports competition with biological women and it’s as straightforward as that,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton.
“We shouldn’t pretend that there’s unfairness when there’s not. It’s not happening in Louisiana,” said Edwards.
Still, trans individuals are miffed over the governor’s decision not to veto the bill.
“It sends a message to your LGBTQ people across the state that his allyship is not as strong as we thought it would be,” said Michelle.
Green added, “Well, I know that the impact will be more othering and feeling less than. We know that trans-kids are looking for people in power to have their backs.”
There are concerns Louisiana tourism and the hosting of large sporting events could suffer because of the new law, but Mizell rejects that idea.
“The NCAA has hosted 10 events in 10 of the states that have passed bills almost identical to this,” she said to her Senate colleagues.
The trans community vows to keep fighting.
“Several states have challenged these types of laws with lawsuits. I think that we as trans advocates have a lot to do internally, in terms of providing resources for our trans youth, to make them feel safe and accepted,” said Green.
“It’s really hard to see this information. It’s not fun but my advice would be: do not make any rash decisions because of what you’re reading in the news today. The fight will continue,” said Michelle.
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