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Gov. Ducey signs pair of bills restricting rights of trans youth

Governor Doug Ducey
Posted at 11:54 AM, Mar 30, 2022

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey signed a number of bills Wednesday, including banning abortions after 15 weeks, gender reassignment surgery for minors, and banning transgender athletes from playing on girls' sports teams.

The Arizona House passed both LGBT measures on party-line votes last week and then sent them to the Governor's desk which he signed Wednesday morning.

Senate Bill 1138, sponsored by Sen. Warren Petersen, delays irreversible gender reassignment surgery until the age of 18. The bill does not prohibit puberty-blocking hormones or any other hormone therapy and will not require any child to go off any prescriptions they may be taking.

The bill banning gender-reassignment surgery for minors takes away parental consent, a decision that Democrats argued against.

“Today I signed S.B. 1138 and S.B. 1165, legislation to protect participation and fairness for female athletes, and to ensure that individuals undergoing irreversible gender reassignment surgery are of adult age. This legislation is common-sense and narrowly targeted to address these two specific issues ⁠— while ensuring that transgender individuals continue to receive the same dignity, respect and kindness as every individual in our society,” Governor Ducey said

Nate Rhoton, the executive director of One*N*Ten, an advocacy group serving LGBTQ youth and young adults, points out what emotional repercussions the bill could have on transgender youth.

"This is a community that is at higher rates for suicide, suicidal ideations and many other unfortunate things that this message perpetuates," Rhoton said.

Senate Bill 1165, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, requires all Arizona public schools, and any private schools that compete against them, to expressly designate their interscholastic athletics teams based on the biological sex of the participating students.

“S.B. 1165 creates a statewide policy to ensure that biologically female athletes at Arizona public schools, colleges, and universities have a level playing field to compete,” Governor Ducey stated. “Every young Arizona athlete should have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities that give them a sense of belonging and allow them to grow and thrive.”

According to the Arizona Interscholastic Association, which represents 277 high schools and 170,000 student-athletes, there have been 16 appeals requesting a transgender athlete to compete in a competition with girls. Eight of those appeals occurred this school year.

Supporters of the sports restrictions say this is an issue of fairness, pointing to the transgender collegiate swimmer Lia Thomas, who is shattering records while competing on the women's team, after competing on the men's team for three seasons at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 decision affirming the prohibition on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil rights Act.