West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice showed how shallow the arguments are against allowing transgender girls from participating in sports when he could not come up with a single example of unfairness before he signed a bill that discriminates against trans girls and women athletes.
Justice, a Republican, signed the bill in late April similar to ones pushed or passed in other exclusively red states that prohibits trans girls or women from competing on sports teams at “any public secondary school or state institution of higher education.” Justice admits the ban on college participation runs afoul of NCAA rules.
What were his reasons? In an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle, Justice couldn’t come up with any other than his feelings as a coach.
Ruhle rightly hammered him with simple questions he was unable to answer clearly:
Ruhle: The law you just signed that prevents transgender female athletes from playing on women’s school teams. Can you name one example of a transgender child trying to gain an unfair competitive advantage at a school there in West Virginia?
Justice: Well, Stephanie, I don’t have that experience exactly myself right now, but I will say this.
Ruhle: Not yourself, your state. Can you give me one example of a transgender child trying to get an unfair advantage? Just one. You signed a bill about it.
Justice: No, I really can’t tell you one, but I can tell you this, Stephanie. I’m a coach and I coach a girls basketball team and I can tell you we all know what an absolute advantage boys would have playing against girls.
Ruhle: But sir, you have no examples of this happening. Why would you take your time to do this? Let’s talk about other things that I can give you examples of in your state.
According to U.S. News and World Report, West Virginia ranked 45th in education, 47th in healthcare, 48th on the economy and 50th on infrastructure.
You cannot name one single example for me of a child doing this. Why would you make this a priority? I’ve just named four things that would seem to me to be a much bigger priority.
Justice: Well Stephanie, I didn’t make it a priority, it wasn’t my bill.
Ruhle: You signed it.
Justice: It’s just come to me and I absolute signed it because I believe from the standpoint of a coach, I believe the girls work so hard to obtain Title IX and I do not have any idea now why we are trying to disadvantage them from participating in the sport they put so much into. I don’t know why we’re doing it. This is not a big priority to me.
I think we only have 12 kids in our state that are transgender-type kids. For crying out loud, Stephanie, I sign hundreds of bills and this is not a priority for me, but with all that I think it would impose an unfair disadvantage on the girls and from that standpoint I support it.
Ruhle: Thank you and please come back when beyond anecdotal feelings as a coach you can show me evidence where those young women are being disadvantaged in your state, because I can show you evidence how ranking that low in education is disadvantaging young women and men in your state.
Justice said the bill wasn’t a priority but signed it anyway.
He signed it without knowing of a single case of a transgender girl gaining an “advantage.”
He governs with his feelings, not with the facts.
There are only 12 trans children in the state, he said, so if we take him at his word, those 12 (we have no idea how many are girls) are such a grave threat to sports in the state that the governor skipped other priorities to sign a bill to solve what he admits is a nonexistent problem.
It’s all illogical and fear-based and bigoted, and it sums up every one of these bills that strip trans girls and women of their rights to play sports. The fact that these bills suddenly materialized all over the country, with often identical language, shows they are being driven by pure politics designed to whip up peoples’ fears and create a wedge issue. Bravo for Ruhle calling out Justice despite the homespun bullshit he was peddling.