Wisconsin GOP to vote on banning youth transgender surgery, barring transgender girls from sports

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly was poised Thursday to pass contentious legislation barring transgender youth from obtaining gender-affirming surgery and limiting their participation on sports teams despite a veto threat from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

GOP legislators across the United States are working to limit transgender youth’s rights, sparking fierce pushback from the transgender community and triggering discrimination lawsuits along the way. Now the battle has come to Wisconsin.

Assembly passage would send the legislation to the Republican-controlled state Senate. If that chamber passes the package it would go next to Evers, who has already promised the bills will never become law.

“We’re going to veto every single one of them (the bills),” Evers told transgender youth and their supporters who gathered at the state Capitol last week for packed hearings on the proposals. “I know you’re here because you’re pissed off and you want to stop it, and you will stop it, and I’ll help you stop it.”

Multiple groups have registered in opposition to the Wisconsin legislation , including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the American Pediatrics Academy’s Wisconsin chapter and the Wisconsin School Social Workers Association. The Wisconsin Catholic Conference and Wisconsin Family Action, a conservative group that advocates for marriage and traditional family structure, are the only organizations registered in support.

At least 22 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors, and most of those states face lawsuits.

Nearly two dozen states have passed legislation limiting transgender athletes to playing on teams with players who identity as the same gender the transgender athletes were assigned at birth. In other words, the bans prohibit transgender females from participating on all-female teams and transgender males from participating on all-male teams.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association currently requires transgender female athletes to have undergone testosterone suppression therapy for a year before participating on a female team in a WIAA-sanctioned sport. Transgender males athletes who have started hormone therapy, such as taking testosterone, are eligible only for male teams. Transgender males who have not started hormone therapy can still play on female teams. The WIAA policy is modeled after NCAA requirements for transgender athletes.


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