Donald Trump isn’t through targeting the transgender community.
The man behind the trans military ban and other anti-trans actions is now promising to keep trans women out of women’s sports if he is elected president again.
“We will ban men from participating in women’s sports,” Trump said at a Saturday rally in Conroe, Texas, NBC News reports. “So ridiculous.” By “men,” of course, he meant trans women.
He also denounced Lia Thomas, a trans woman on the University of Pennsylvania swim team who recently broke several records at a meet in Ohio. “Trump misgendered Thomas, referring to her by the wrong pronouns, and then falsely stated that Thomas broke an 11-year-old swimming record by 38 seconds,” NBC notes. Actually, she won one event by 38 seconds but didn’t break a record in that case; she had record times in some other events, but she bested the previous records by only a couple of seconds.
He further claimed a trans woman broke a weightlifting record that had stood for 20 years, but it’s unclear what he was basing it on or if the statement was true.
Trump didn’t say how he’d enact the ban he talked about. He has spoken against trans inclusion in women’s sports previously. At last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, for instance, he said Democratic policies would “destroy women’s sports.”
Barring trans women from women’s sports has become a popular cause among conservative legislators at the state level. Last year, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia passed laws barring trans athletes from competing under their gender identity in K-12 public school sports; some of the laws affect athletes at state colleges and universities as well.
Idaho put such a law in place in 2020, and South Dakota’s governor last year signed executive orders to the same effect; the state is now considering legislation on the matter. Some of the laws are being challenged in court, with Idaho’s and West Virginia’s temporarily blocked by court action. This year, many more states are considering such measures, 17 at the latest count.
The rash of legislation has come even though there is no widespread domination of women’s sports by trans women. Most of the lawmakers behind these bills haven’t been able to name a single instance in which a trans woman’s participation in women’s sports has caused a problem in their state. Backers of the bans claim trans women have an inherent and unfair advantage over cisgender women, but both scientists and activists dispute this. And such legislation further marginalizes trans youth, a population already subject to much discrimination and harassment.
Trump’s event in Conroe, a suburb of Houston, was billed as a “Save America Rally.” It featured appearances by several Trump-supporting and notably anti-LGBTQ+ Republican Texas officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton. They are all up for reelection this year.
Trump has never admitted losing the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden and instead has spread lies that the election was stolen through widespread voter fraud, a claim for which there is no evidence. Trump hopes to run for president again in 2024, but right now he and his associates are under investigation for their roles in inciting the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol that attempted to stop certification of the electoral vote for Biden. Also, the former president’s business dealings are under investigation by New York City and state authorities.