A bill in the Mississippi legislature would require sports teams at the state’s public schools, universities, and community colleges to be designated only for one biological sex.

Senate Bill 2536 would require any public school, university, or community college team to be either designated for those of one biological sex or the other (in addition to an exception for co-ed teams).

The legislation also has a clause that would allow any student who reports a violation of the law and is retaliated against by the school or other athletic association to have the right to injunctive relief and damages. 

Another would allow a student whose bodily privacy was violated to have the same rights.

The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Angela Hill (R-Picayune).

Recent polling suggests that 79% of all Mississippians support such legislation. The same poll also revealed that the bill has broad support across political demographics. 87% of Republicans support the legislation along with 83% of Independents and 65% of Democrats.

While there have not been any cases of those born as males competing against girls in Mississippi, the issue has become a nationwide one as 16 states allow transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions. 

Three high school girls who run track in Connecticut filed a lawsuit last year to challenge Connecticut’s policy of allowing male athletes to compete with girls in sports. They are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The three — Selina Soule, Alanna Smith, and Chelsea Mitchell — have been beaten consistently in track meets by a pair of transgender athletes born as males. 

The lawsuit says the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s rules allowing transgender athletes to compete with girls poses a threat to Title IX because of physiological differences between men and women after puberty. Boys and men have more muscle mass and thus have the capacity to run faster and jump farther than most girls and women.

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funds. The law, which was passed in 1972, has led to a massive growth in the number of number of athletic opportunities for women. According to the NCAA, the number of female athletes in in 1982 was 74,239. By 2019, that number grew to 221,042, an increase of 197 percent.

Mississippi is one of only ten states that has no policies toward male athletes competing against females.