Edwards calls transgender restriction bills ‘discriminatory’

April 19, 2021 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday that he will oppose legislative proposals to add new medical and sports restrictions on transgender youth in Louisiana, calling the measures “unnecessary and discriminatory.”

Lawmakers have introduced bills to ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams in schools and to restrict transgender youths’ access to medication and other health care used in transitioning to match their gender identity.

Edwards said he’s “hopeful that the Legislature will not seek to advance those bills.” The measures haven’t yet received any hearings.

“I am really concerned about emotionally fragile people and the idea that the weight of the state would be put behind something that to me is unnecessary and discriminatory and very hurtful for those individuals when there’s not a compelling reason to do it,” the Democratic governor said.

Edwards also said the proposals would bring an “adverse impact to the state.”

For example, New Orleans is scheduled to host the NCAA’s Final Four basketball tournament in 2022, and some officials worry the event could be lost if the transgender legislation is passed. The NCAA has issued a statement declaring its support for transgender student athletes and saying it will choose locations for its championships “where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination.”