Governor Gordon Allows Transgender Sports Bill to Pass Into Law

The ACLU of Wyoming responds harshly to the action.
Governor Gordon Allows Transgender Sports Bill to Pass Into Law

House Chamber during the morning session in the 2023 legislative session. Photo by Michael Smith

CHEYENNE — Governor Mark Gordon allowed Senate File 133/SEA No. 92 – Student eligibility in interscholastic sports to pass into law without his signature and the ACLU of Wyoming says the action “is shameful.”

The Governor said that while he supports and agrees with the overall goal of fairness in competitive female sports, the ban included in the legislation “is overly draconian, is discriminatory without attention to individual circumstances or mitigating factors, and pays little attention to fundamental principles of equality.” The Governor does agree with the provision of the bill that moves decision-making to the state level to ensure consistency and fairness across school districts. 

The ACLU of Wyoming opposed Senate File 133, legislation that violates both the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which protects all students – including those who are transgender – from discrimination based on sex.

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“Nobody wins when politicians meddle in people’s lives like this. Nobody wins when we codify discrimination like this,” ACLU of Wyoming advocacy director Antonio Serrano said. “Senate File 133 is not about leveling the playing field for student athletes. It’s about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life. Inclusive teams that support all athletes and encourage participation should be the standard for all school sports.

“While I freely acknowledge the intent of this legislation is well-meaning as a way to protect the integrity and fairness of women’s sports in our state, by enacting an outright ban on transgender individuals participating in sports teams, I believe Wyoming sends a harmful message that these individuals and their families do not deserve the same opportunities as others,” the Governor wrote.

“Moreover the ban leaves little or no flexibility for families to support their children. As a parent, that saddens me,” the Governor added.

The Legislature set the effective date for the bill as July 1. That means no current student athletes are impacted during this season. The Governor committed to work with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction prior to the start of the next school year to ensure that there is clear guidance from the Wyoming High School Activities Association regarding the opportunities that will exist moving forward for transgender students to have some means to participate safely in interscholastic activities after this law goes into effect, recognizing sadly that may mean these young people may not be able to compete in athletics. 

“Allowing Senate File 133 to go into law is shameful and only reinforces the incorrect notion that transgender students are not entitled to the same dignity and respect as all students.”