Arizona governor signs two bills impacting transgender minors

The state has budgeted $100 million for AZ OnTrack Summer Camps, which the governor’s office...
The state has budgeted $100 million for AZ OnTrack Summer Camps, which the governor’s office says will compensate the teachers.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 12:25 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed two bills into law today that target the transgender community. The first is a bill that will require transgender kids to wait until 18 to receive gender reassignment surgery, and the other will require them to play on the sports team of their biological sex, regardless of their identity.

“Today I signed S.B. 1138 and S.B. 1165, legislation to protect participation and fairness for female athletes, and to ensure that individuals undergoing irreversible gender reassignment surgery are of adult age. This legislation is common-sense and narrowly targeted to address these two specific issues — while ensuring that transgender individuals continue to receive the same dignity, respect, and kindness as every individual in our society,” Ducey said in a letter.

Senate Bill 1138, sponsored by Sen. Warren Petersen, will delay gender reassignment surgery until age 18 but does not include puberty-blocking hormones and won’t require any kid to go off prescriptions they’re taking. “S.B. 1138 delays any irreversible gender reassignment surgery until the age of 18,” Gov. Ducey said. “The reason is simple, and common sense – this is a decision that will dramatically affect the rest of an individual’s life, including the ability of that individual to become a biological parent later in life.”

S.B. 1165, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, requires all Arizona public and private schools to designate their sports teams based on the team members’ biological sex. “S.B. 1165 creates a statewide policy to ensure that biologically female athletes at Arizona public schools, colleges, and universities have a level playing field to compete,” Ducey explained.

Two GOP governors recently bucked conservatives in their party and vetoed bills in Indiana and Utah requiring trans girls to play on boys sports teams. Republicans have said blocking transgender athletes from girls sports teams would protect the integrity of women’s sports, claiming that trans athletes would have an advantage. But there are few trans athletes in Arizona schools. Since 2017, about 16 trans athletes have received waivers to play on teams that align with their gender identities out of about 170,000 high school athletes in the state, according to the Arizona Interscholastic Association.