Jim Justice Passes Anti-trans Bill


Lee Cline

Jim Justice Passes Anti-trans Bill Cavtalk.org Canva Infographic Lee Cline Greenbrier West High School

On April 8th, 2021, the West Virginia Senate passed HB 3293, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level consistent with their gender identity. This discriminatory bill has caused outrage within the state and across the nation.

In an interview with MSNBC, Governor Jim Justice said, “I think we only have twelve kids maybe in our state that are transgender type kids,” which is simply untrue. According to a study conducted by the Williams Institute, out of the 50 states, West Virginia has the highest percentage of teens who identify as transgender.

Some argue that transgender women would have an unfair advantage over cisgender women in an athletic setting. In some cases, this may be true, as this is a very complex issue.  MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle asked Justice to provide one example of a trans child “trying to gain an unfair competitive advantage” at a school in the state. Justice said he couldn’t.

According to Dr. Joshua D. Safer, gender is not the the best way to determine a person’s  competitive advantage.  “A person’s genetic make-up and internal and external reproductive anatomy are not useful indicators of athletic performance,” according to Dr. Joshua D. Safer. “For a trans woman athlete who meets NCAA standards, “there is no inherent reason why her physiological characteristics related to athletic performance should be treated differently from the physiological characteristics of a non-transgender woman” (Strangio, Arkles, 2020).

Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said, “Transgender children are children. They deserve the ability to play organized sports and be part of a team, just like all children. Gov. Justice nor the legislators who voted to pass the bill can name a single example of a transgender child trying to gain an unfair competitive advantage, which underscores that this is nothing more than a politically motivated bill for the sake of discrimination itself.”

The consequences of discrimination and feeling left out can be dire. The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed statistics of attempted suicide among transgender youth. The findings emphasize the urgency of building-welcoming and safe communities for LGBTQ young people. More than half of transgender male teens who participated in the survey reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, while 29.9 percent of transgender female teens said they attempted suicide. Among non-binary youth, 41.8 percent of respondents stated that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives (Human Rights Campaign, 2018).

“This fight is far from over,” says Andrew Schneider, Fairness West Virginia Executive Director, “ Transgender kids across West Virginia deserve love, support, and the chance to fully participate in the sport they love, and we’ll continue standing up for them every day. Senators have unfortunately made this bill even worse by extending the transgender athlete ban to cover colleges and universities without any regard for how that could affect West Virginia University’s standing with the NCAA. This bill is bad for business, it’s bad for our state’s image, and it’s bad for kids who are just looking to belong.”

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24hr) : 800-273-8255

The GLBT National Youth Talkline: (800) 246-7743

Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860

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Jim Justice Passes Anti-trans Bill


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