SC Superintendent: Process for transgender athletes ‘works well,’ opposes bill

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Updated: Apr. 6, 2021 at 7:38 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said she opposes a bill that would prevent transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams, but she does support a process that transgender athletes must go through if they want to play.

The “Save Women’s Sports Act” would make it state law that only people born with female anatomy can play on a girl’s middle or high school-level sports team in South Carolina.

State Rep. Ashley Trantham, R-Greenville, is one of the bill’s primary sponsors.

“I understand what they’re going through emotionally, mentally. It’s not that it’s not compassionate about what they’re going through,” Trantham said earlier this year. “But, I would also point out, we have to think about how this is going to impact our girls. I mean they have to be able to have a level playing field.”

Spearman said she doesn’t support the legislation because the South Carolina High School League already has a process in place for transgender athletes.

“A school may come, if there’s a transgender student, may apply to the High School League to consider that,” Spearman said. “The appeal goes directly to a team of doctors who look at the history of that student and decides, ‘Does that student have any physical advantage?’”

Since 2016, four students have applied for the appeal, Spearman added. Two have been approved.

“There is a process in place,” she said. “It’s working well, and I think that process serves South Carolina well and that should be how we handle that in our state.”

A House subcommittee voted in favor of the proposal, and it’s now in the hands of the House Judiciary Committee.

Governor’s spokesman Brian Symmes said Gov. Henry McMaster would “absolutely sign this bill into law should it reach his desk.”

South Carolina is one of more than a dozen states discussing similar legislation.

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