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Mississippi Governor blames Biden for “encouraging transgenderism” as he signs anti-trans bill

Gov. Tate Reeves
Gov. Tate Reeves Photo: Screenshot/Twitter

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed a bill that would ban transgender girls and women from school sports in a ceremony earlier today, and accused President Joe Biden of “encouraging transgenderism amongst our young people.”

Mississippi is now the first state this year to pass and sign a bill attacking transgender youth into law, as Republicans in dozens of states have introduced bills to either ban transgender women from school sports or criminalize health care professionals who provide gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

Related: Mississippi may ban trans people under 21 from receiving healthcare

Speaking at a mostly un-masked ceremony, Reeves blamed Biden for the bill in a bizarre rant.

“President Biden, as one of his first initiatives, sat down and signed an executive order which, in my view, encourages transgenderism amongst our young people. But for that fact we wouldn’t be here today,” he lied.

The bill that he signed, S.B. 2536, was introduced in the Mississippi Senate two days before Biden’s inauguration. State Republicans considered a similar bill last year while Donald Trump was still in the White House.

Moreover, he was referring to an executive order that bans discrimination against LGBTQ people under federal law, including in schools that receive federal money. “In his view” or otherwise, that will not turn young people transgender.

Reeves then apparently remembered that the stated purpose of the bill is to keep cisgender girls from having to compete against transgender girls, not to attack transgender youth.

“We view this as presenting an unfair challenge to biological girls who wish to join sports teams,” he said.

During the debate on the bill, Republicans couldn’t name a transgender student-athlete in the state and none of them even asked if there were any. Which makes it unlikely that cisgender girls are unable to join sports teams because they are dominated by transgender girls.

State Sen. Angela Hill (R) sponsored the bill, and she was only willing to say that “numerous coaches across the state” told her that “they are beginning to have some concerns of having to deal with this.”

At the signing ceremony, Reeves was surrounded by Republican lawmakers. Almost no one was wearing a mask. For reference, the population of Mississippi is 37% Black.

Katy Binstead, the mother of a transgender girl, was already told by her daughter’s school that she couldn’t play middle school basketball because of the gender marker on her birth certificate. She said that the coach told her daughter to try out for the boys team.

“My daughter isn’t comfortable playing with the boys because she’s not a boy and she never has been a boy,” she said.

“There is simply no justification for banning transgender girls and women from participating in athletics other than discrimination. Like all girls, transgender girls just want to play and be part of a team with their friends,” said HRC President Alphonso David in a statement. “History will not look kindly on this moment in Mississippi.”

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