The pitching rubber may soon hit the road of the Arkansas legislature’s march toward the most anti-transgender legislative agenda in the country.
Whole Hog Sports reported yesterday that the University of Arkansas will ask the NCAA to host regional playoff games in baseball and softball.
Problem: NCAA President Mark Emmert wrote the Human Rights Campaign, which defends LGBTQ rights, to say that legislation aimed at banning transgender-athlete participation conflicts with NCAA values. He said the NCAA requires championship sites to “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination.”
Good luck on that in Arkansas. Governor Hutchinson has signed one bill prohibiting transgender girls from participating in girls’ athletics, including in college. He’s signed a bill allowing denial of medical services to transgender people on pretext of “conscience.” Today he signed a bill that discourages school courses from mentioning LGBT people and allowing parents to opt out of classes with such mentions. In previous sessions, he signed a bill allowing legal discrimination against LGBT people on “religious” grounds. He also allowed a bill to become law that prevents cities like Fayetteville, home to the UA, from adopting an ordinance protecting LGBT people. The Senate yesterday passed a bill allowing the attorney general to sue to prevent transgender women from participating in athletics, even at the intramural level and including colleges. It even allows a lawsuit to prevent a private college from competing against a public school with transgender athletes. The governorvetoed a bill making transgender medical treatment for minors illegal but said he expected the legislature to override his veto and they swiftly did. The legislature cooked up a sham “hate crime” bill intentionally written to avoid a mention of LGBT people. The House has passed a resolution vowing opposition to federal law or rules extending protection to LGBT people (The Biden administration has moved vigorously in that direction.) Rep. Mary Bentley has a bill pending making it illegal for a school employee to refer to transgender children by anything but the name and sex on their birth certificate. It’s been amended, but is meant to protect teachers who refuse to recognize a child’s gender .
Transgender people have been described as an abomination and affront to Christianity on the floor of the Arkansas legislature.
How, considering all this, can Arkansas demonstrate it is a place free of discrimination, healthy or safe?
Transgender people have tried to explain before the legislature but were rudely rebuffed. Their testimony was limited, one father was arrested and their wrenching stories were ignored, with overwhelming votes in every case answering the questions I’ve posed.
The Human Rights Campaign noted:
In 2016, the NCAA Board of Governors instructed the association to relocate all seven previously awarded championship events from North Carolina after the vote of HB 2, legislation that eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people and forced transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. The NCAA has continuously stated a firm position that if participating states do not meet the association’s “expectations of a discrimination-free environment,” they will “not hesitate to take necessary action at any time.”