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Bans on Transgender Youth Participation in Sports

Recently, anti-LGBTQ opponents have introduced–and passed–laws to ban transgender youth from participating in school sports, most frequently in K-12 schools but sometimes including in college. These laws mean that transgender girls, for example, would not be allowed to participate in sports with other girls. Local schools and state athletic associations already have policies that both protect transgender people and ensure a level playing field for all athletes. In contrast, the policies shown below are blanket bans on transgender people’s participation in sports, and they are both unnecessary and harmful.
United States Map
Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • State law bans transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity (5 states, 0 territories)
  • State law does not ban transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity (45 states, 5 territories + D.C.)
*Note: Currently, a temporary injunction is blocking enforcement of the Idaho ban, but the case is still active in the court system pending further judicial review. See Hecox v. Little (August 2020). 

While in 2020 Idaho became the first state to legislate whether transgender student-athletes can play sports, many state high school athletic associations have developed their own policies, which also vary widely from state to state. For more on these associations' policies, see Trans Athlete's tracking.

For more information, see Athlete Ally or the Women's Sports Foundation.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. "Equality Maps: Bans on Transgender Youth Participation in Sports." https://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/sports_participation_bans. Accessed 04/11/2021. 

Percent of Adult LGBTQ Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBTQ adult population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of the LGBTQ adult population in the five inhabited U.S. territories are not available, and so cannot be reflected here.

4%

4 % of LGBTQ population lives in states that have laws preventing transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity

96%

96 % of LGBTQ population lives in states that do not have laws preventing transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity

Key
  • State does not have this law State has law preventing transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity
State Bans on Transgender Youth Participation in Sports Year Passed
  Citations
Alabama
Alaska
American Samoa
Arizona
Arkansas State does not have this law 2021
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Guam
Hawaii
Idaho State does not have this law 2020
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi State does not have this law 2021
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Northern Mariana Islands
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota State does not have this law 2021
Tennessee State does not have this law 2021
Texas
U.S. Virgin Islands
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Data current as of 04/08/2021
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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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