Nancy Barto was one of the lawmakers who could not provide evidence backing up her anti-trans law. (Arizona State Legislature website)
More than 25 states are currently considering bans on trans athletes – but as a powerful video shows, Republicans and their allies can’t give any valid reasons for them.
Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have all passed laws restricting transgender young people’s access to sport, with lawmakers claiming that cisgender girls are missing out on opportunities because trans girls are stealing the spotlight.
The problem, of course, is that there’s absolutely no evidence to back up these arguments.
That point was underscored by a recent CNN report which compiled clips of Democratic lawmakers questioning their Republican counterparts and their allies on the anti-trans bills, asking them to provide evidence of a problem with trans athletes.
In one clip, Arizona representative Daniel Hernandez Jr asked Republican Nancy Barto to provide concrete evidence backing up a law that is currently making its way through the legislature that would restrict trans athletes’ access to sport.
“Will you cite any examples where a young woman was denied a scholarship opportunity or a title here in Arizona, not outside of Arizona, not anecdotally in another state but here specifically in Arizona, because they were competing against a trans athlete who outperformed them?” Hernandez Jr asked in the clip.
Barto replied: “I can’t at this point, Mr Chairman.”
Despite this, the bill sailed through the Arizona House of Representatives.
In a second clip, Georgia senator Elena Parent asked Matt Sharp of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative legal firm, if he could tell her just how many girls had been denied opportunities because of trans athletes’ participation in sport.
“So, obviously, there’s not a lot of statistics on that,” Sharp replied in the clip.
Lawmakers can’t provide evidence for anti-trans bills ‘in almost every case’
The phenomenon is common across all the states currently working to push through bans on trans athletes competing in school sports.
According to the Associated Press, the sponsors of such bills are unable to cite any examples or evidence for why their bans are necessary “in almost every case”.
South Carolina representative Ashley Trantham told AP that she knew of no transgender athletes competing in her state, and claimed she was working to have a ban implemented to prevent it becoming an issue in the future.
Meanwhile, Tennessee Speaker Cameron Sexton claimed the state’s bill was “proactive” and admitted that there might not actually be any trans students currently competing in sports in Tennessee.
Advocates have warned that the spate of anti-trans and anti-LGBT+ bills making their way through state legislatures in America is part of a “culture war” around queer identities.
This week, Arkansas passed a brutal law banning healthcare for trans minors – despite the fact that governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed the bill. Lawmakers voted to overrule his veto, forcing the discriminatory bill into law.