After over eight hours of debate and filibuster, HB 4608, which bans transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity, was rushed through the South Carolina House of Representatives April 6 to meet a legislative deadline of April 10. 

Although the Bill is titled “Save Women’s Sports Act,” the South Carolina House has done everything except create an equal footing for women in sports. The bill – which passed in the House  with a vote of 82 to 48, now heads to the Senate for consideration.

HB 4608 artificially and unfairly separates transgender kids from their fellow students, further isolating children who are already wrestling with the weight of discrimination. A recent study by the Trevor Project found that 42 percent of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and non-binary youth. Ninety-four percent of LGBTQ+ youth also reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health.

It’s clear the South Carolina House did not consider the serious consequences of bills like HB 4608.

As of March 31, more than 200 major U.S. corporations, including companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Dell, Dow, Google, IBM, Lyft, Marriott, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, and the Walt Disney Company, have spoken out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country, much of which attacks transgender youth.

Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley released the following statement:

“The South Carolina House has no shame. Not even a week after passing a discriminatory health care bill that attacks vulnerable patients, they double down on the attack against LGBTQ+ kids. Just like every kid across our country, transgender kids want to be able to play with their friends. 

“For many youth, playing school sports is an integral part of student life. Sports are part of education for a reason – participating in sports helps students learn leadership, friendship, and teamwork alongside physical wellness, self-discipline, and the payoff of hard work. We urge the South Carolina Senate to stop this dangerous bill from becoming law.”

The Justice Department issued a letter on April 1 to all state attorneys general reminding them of federal constitutional and statutory provisions that protect transgender youth against discrimination.

The latest PRRI data shows that 67 percent of South Carolinians support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. Nationwide, approximately 79 percent of Americans favor laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing.

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