As of May 16, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed into law HB 4608, which bans transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

HB 4608 is a discriminatory attack on transgender students who – like many teens – are going through the motions of keeping fit and enjoying physical activity by playing sports with their peers. Transgender kids have said themselves they play sports for the same reasons all kids do: to be part of a team, to learn discipline, and above all, to have fun with their friends. 

In a report carried by ABC News, trans teen Kris Wilka, then 13, talked about watching football games at his cousin’s house when he was younger, which eventually led him into playing the sport himself.

“It was very fascinating to me,” he said during the interview with the news program Nightline. “When I was in second grade, I went straight to tackle football – I never played any flag [football] – and I was quarterback for two years in my league, and then I was on the line my third year. I got recruited to a new league, played a year there.”

At the time of the interview, Wilka played quarterback at Harrisburg North Middle School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Like so many of his teammates, he couldn’t imagine life without the sport. He almost lost the opportunity when he was set to transfer to another school that refused to allow him to continue playing football on male teams. Wilka and his parents chose another school that didn’t have transgender intolerance issues and he continued to play throughout the season.

But that’s not likely to be the case for trans teens in South Carolina – and especially for those that are trans female. 

By passing this bill, which has been so inappropriately dubbed the “Save Women’s Sports” bill, McMaster is blatantly ignoring his duty to stand up for all of his constituents, especially transgender female students.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a leading LGBTQ civil rights organization, has condemned McMaster for signing the bill into law. HRC’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley released the following statement:

“HB 4608 is a shameful bill and a stain on Governor McMaster’s record. Transgender kids are playing school sports because it’s what kids often do to make friends, get exercise, and learn what it takes to be part of a team. Transgender people have participated uneventfully in school athletics for decades, and this issue is simply manufactured to further distract and divide us. This bill is not about fairness for women, it’s about attacking a marginalized group that is already bearing the weight of discrimination. History will remember Governor McMaster’s disregard for compassion, humanity, and basic human rights.”

David Aaron Moore

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...