Kansas governor on transgender sports ban bill: ‘We don’t want to go down that road’

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly indicated Monday that a bill that would block transgender women from participating in women’s athletics would be bad for Kansas kids and businesses alike.

The bill passed by both sides of the Kansas Legislature would make Kansas public schools and state college teams set up designations for sports based on biological sex: male, female or coed. It would ban any transgender athlete biologically born male from participating in women’s sports.

The governor said she hasn’t seen the bill yet. Kelly added that she won’t declare whether she will veto it until she reads it, but shared her intentions based on what she knows from similar bills.

“I can tell you that we know from past experience not only what this will do, how it will make these kids feel, and how it might exacerbate some of the mental health issues that we’re already seeing. But, we also know just from a business sense how we don’t want to go down that road. We know that when, for instance, North Carolina passed an anti-trans bill a few years ago, overnight they lost $400 million in convention business… It probably totaled up into the billions of dollars of businesses who decided not to make new capital investments in their state because of that. Kansas doesn’t need to be passing any sorts of anti-progressive or really regressive legislation.”

Governor Laura Kelly

The governor made the comments Monday morning while visiting a Wichita hospital for her “Back to Work, Back to School” tour, and it’s not the first time she has hinted at her stance on the bill. Kelly also stopped short of promising a veto Wednesday but pointed to a past executive order on LGBTQ rights as signaling her position. In January 2019, she prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in state hiring or employment decisions.

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