Advocate Stories, Gender Justice, News

WREN Statement in Opposition to H.4608 

by Ashley Crary Lidow, MPH on Mar 10, 2022

Presented to the House Education K-12 subcommittee on March 10, 2022 

Thank you, Chairwoman Felder, and members of the subcommittee, for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Ashley Lidow, she/her, and I am the Director of Policy and Government Relations for the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with a mission to build a movement to advance the health, economic well-being, and rights of South Carolina’s women, girls, and their families.  

WREN works for the rights of ALL women, girls, and gender expansive people. Transgender women and girls ARE women and girls. We are adamantly opposed to legislation that would discriminate against trans people. Therefore, on behalf of our organization, I am asking committee members to vote NO on H.4608. This dangerous bill would ostracize transgender students from their peers by banning their participation in interscholastic activities that align with their gender identity.    

WREN is a network of more than 40,000 South Carolinians, and our members care about solving problems that are affecting their daily lives – problems like  earning an adequate income to allow us to provide for our families, finding good childcare, helping our kids who have been out of school,  , accessing quality health care – including mental health care, and finally addressing  the epidemic of  violence that is literally killing so many women – including trans women – every year. Excluding student athletes from sports teams is simply not one of those issues that actual South Carolinians care about. It is a distraction from the actual challenges that people are facing each day. In fact, in a statewide poll of likely voters, the majority of respondents supported laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people. This bill would do the opposite. 

Not only would this bill fail to protect LGBTQ+ people; H.4608 would harm LGBTQ+ children. Banning transgender youth from school sports will endanger their health and well-being by erasing them from public life, ostracizing them from their peers, and excluding them from the enormous physical, mental, and social benefits of playing sports. Promoting baseless fears about transgender athletes exacerbates stigma and gender-based inequalities in interscholastic sports by reinforcing harmful stereotypes. This bad policy promotes a climate of hatred that endangers the welfare of all students.  

If you want to support women and girls, please start by listening to us. Again and again, women and girls have told you what we need: healthcare; safe schools for our children; jobs that pay us fairly; paid family and medical leave; clean air and water; safe, affordable housing; and protection from violence.  

I strongly urge you to vote in opposition to H.4608, an unnecessary, dangerous, and discriminatory bill.  

Thank you for your consideration.  

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