GLAAD, THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS AND LOCAL LGBTQ ORGANIZATIONS IN SOUTH CAROLINA RESPOND TO GOVERNOR HENRY MCMASTER SIGNING A BILL INTO LAW BANNING TRANSGENDER YOUTH FROM SCHOOL SPORTS

May 17, 2022

(Tuesday, May 17, 2022) GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s signing H4608 into law. The law bans transgender youth from participating in school sports consistent with their gender, in middle school, high school, and college. 

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ashley Trantham (R-Pelzer) and Rep. Cezar McKnight (D-Kingstree). 

GLAAD released a guide for journalists covering the wave of anti-LGBTQ bills nationwide.

Statement from Executive Director of Gender Benders and Community Health Program Director of Campaign for Southern Equality, Ivy Hill:
“It pains us to see lawmakers in South Carolina, and now the governor, ignore the voices of thousands of South Carolinians – including parents, medical providers, students, faith leaders, and transgender people ourselves – who expressed loudly and clearly that this bill will harm young people in our state. Transgender youth are not a threat to fairness in sports, and this law now needlessly stigmatizes young people who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence, make friends, and build skills like teamwork and leadership, winning and losing. While extreme lawmakers ultimately forced through this anti-transgender attack, the SC United for Justice & Equality coalition is so proud of the ways that thousands of supporters of transgender dignity spoke out and organized against H.4608 and other bills this year. We are grateful for every South Carolinian who expressed their love, support, and respect for transgender youth and rejected these politics of division and cruelty. Despite this setback, we will never stop fighting on behalf of trans and queer young people, and our coalition will explore every strategy possible to surmount every barrier to equality.”

Statement from spokesperson for The American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Elizabeth Mack, board certified pediatric critical care physician and pediatrician in Charleston, SC:
“As a born and raised South Carolinian, it is my expectation that our state’s elected officials make decisions based on evidence and listen to our state’s experts. We must not play into fear or treat some of our most vulnerable community members – our transgender young people – like political pawns. Transgender youth face higher rates of bullying, mental health issues, and even suicide than their non-transgender peers, which we sadly see routinely in pediatric ICUs. This bill tells a population that is already at risk, ‘We do not support you,’ and I am devastated to see it pass. We must protect our future.”

 

Statement from GLAAD’s Regional Media Lead, U.S. South, Serena Sonoma

“On April 27th, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to every state attorney general stating that discrimination against trans youth is sex discrimination and risks funding for states participating in federal programs.

Governor McMaster and South Carolina legislators are sending an unmistakable and cruel message to LGBTQ South Carolinians and all Americans that they stand strongly against LGBTQ rights. Laws like this send messages that make LGBTQ people less safe, including children. Every child needs to hear the message that you belong, sports are for everyone, and everyone wins when everyone is included. Lawmakers should listen to the experts in medicine, sports, education and child development, and support ways to make sure every kid feels welcome to play. This bill hurts all children and South Carolina’s future as a place to grow and succeed.”

GLAAD has a Guide for Media Covering anti-LGBTQ Legislation here. GLAAD’s checklist for accurate coverage includes recommendations to seek facts from experts in sports, education and medicine over opinions from public figures; to include LGBTQ voices in all stories about LGBTQ issues, and include LGBTQ parents and families in discussions about “parents’ rights;” and include context about bills’ impact on vulnerable youth.

 

Research to include in your coverage:

  • Every major medical association including the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics support access to school sports as important for children’s physical, social and emotional growth. 
  • Women athletes overwhelmingly support trans inclusion. In December 2020, nearly 200 leading women athletes including Billie Jean King, Megan Rapinoe, and Candace Parker submitted a legal brief urging support for trans women and girls in sports and opposing anti-trans sports legislation and policies. In 2021, GLAAD and Athlete Ally released a letter signed by over 550 college athletes (mostly women) who demanded the NCAA pull events from states with anti-trans school sports bans.
  • The International Olympic Committee released guidelines in November 2021 to prioritize safety and inclusion for transgender people, after consultation with medical, legal, sports and human rights experts, and determined that “no athlete has an inherent advantage over another due to their gender identity, sex variations, or appearance.”
  • 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66%) — say debates in the states restricting rights of transgender people negatively impacted their mental health.
  • In multiple states proposing legislation in 2021, lawmakers could not cite a single instance of trans inclusion in sports being an issue in their states. Media should continue to ask public figures for evidence of specific problems in their states.
  • Media should check bill language for how proponents propose to enforce the bills, including whether there are required anatomy screenings that hurt all children.
  • Anti-LGBTQ legal groups (classified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center) support these bills, often with identical language state to state. A designated hate group, ADF, has filed lawsuits using demonstrably false claims to attack transgender inclusion in state-level bills.
  • There are no reported instances of transgender students “taking scholarships” from other students. Anyone claiming this should be asked for evidence.
  • Research shows participation of girls in sports overall is higher in states with trans-inclusive policies.

 

2022 is already a record-setting year for state legislation targeting LGBTQ people, with more than 283 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed. This follows 2021’s record of proposed bills targeting transgender Americans’ access to education, athletics, healthcare, and bathrooms. 

 

  • Freedom for All Americans tracks anti-LGBTQ legislation across the U.S.
  • Polls show wide support for laws protecting LGBTQ people - 76%. Less than one in five Americans (19%) oppose nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans. 

 

About Gender Benders: 

Gender Benders is an organization that provides a range of advocacy, education and support services for TGNC individuals. This includes an annual multi-day retreat for TGNC adults (Camp GB), trans health resource development and provision.

In addition the group holds training and leadership development programs, HIV prevention, intervention programs and supportive online spaces.

 

About The Campaign for Southern Equality:
The Campaign for Southern Equality works to build a South where LGBTQ people are equal in every part of life. A South where your zipcode doesn’t determine your rights. Where all of us are free to be who we truly are and love who we truly love.

 

About Dr. Elizabeth Mack: 

 

Dr. Elizabeth Mack is a board-certified pediatric critical care physician and pediatrician in Charleston, SC, who has been one of many medical providers who has worked against the bill.