Gov. Reeves Signs Fairness Act into Law

By Hunter Estes
March 11, 2021

This morning, Gov. Tate Reeves signed the Fairness Act (SB2536) into law. The law will require that public schools, universities, and community colleges designate sports teams as either male, female, or coed, as based on biological sex.

The law was sponsored by state Sen. Angela Hill (R-Picayune) and it had 21 cosponsors in the Senate.

Recent polling revealed that the legislation has wide support across political demographics. The poll sought approval for a state law that prohibits biological males from competing on female-only teams. In sum, 79 percent of registered Mississippi voters support such legislation. 87 percent of Republicans support the legislation, along with 83 percent of Independents and 65 percent of Democrats.

“Mississippians are breathing a sigh of relief now that Governor Reeves has signed this bill into law and established protections for the rights of girls and women who engage in competitive athletics,” stated MCPP Executive Vice President, Lesley Davis.

Davis gave a powerful defense of female sports in her piece here.

She continued, “Unlike what is happening in other states, our girls’ and women’s records will not be shattered by biological males competing against females. Women deserve to compete on a level playing field. Allowing males to compete in women’s sports destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities.”

She continued, “Mississippi owes a debt of gratitude to those who stepped up and supported this legislation. We are especially grateful to Senator Angela Hill for authoring this law. We are also thankful to Governor Reeves for signing it, and for the work of Senator Rita Potts Parks, Senator John Polk, and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann. We also thank Speaker Philip Gunn, Rep. Becky Currie, Rep. Stacey Hobgood-Wilkes, and Rep. C. Scott Bounds for their support in the House. Mississippi’s female athletes and future female athletes thank you.”

The issue is becoming increasingly topical around the nation as female athletes have had to compete in athletic events with biological males in certain states. Such competition puts scholarship opportunities, awards, and recognition for female athletes up in the air.

Three high school girls who run track in Connecticut filed a lawsuit last year challenging a policy of allowing male athletes to compete against girls. 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 larger lungs and hearts and thus have the capacity to run faster and jump farther than most girls and women.

MCPP’s Dr. Jameson Taylor interviewed Selina Soule and shared her perspective on joining the lawsuit and the need to defend female sports. Read the interview here.

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funds. The law, passed in 1972, has led to a massive growth in the number of athletic opportunities for women. The NCCA currently allows member schools to set their own policies in this area, with the condition that a biological male competing on a women’s team must undergo at least one year of testosterone suppression. Several studies suggest, however, that even after a year of such treatment biological males enjoy a physical advantage over their biologically female peers.


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