Mississippi governor signs transgender bathroom ban in public schools

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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed a bill into law Monday that will prohibit transgender people from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identities in state public schools.

The bill, titled the Securing Areas for Females Effectively and Responsibly Act, or “SAFER,” requires all public education institutions to have single-sex restrooms, changing areas and dormitories.

The legislation defines one’s sex as “‘solely determined by a birth’ without regard to the fluidity of how someone acts or feels.'”

This means individuals will only be allowed to go into spaces that match their sex assigned at birth despite their appearance or any gender-affirming procedures. Those who do not follow this rule could face lawsuits, though schools, colleges and universities would be protected from liability, the Associated Press reported.

In a statement to X, Reeves said the bill seeks to “protect women’s spaces.”

“It’s mind blowing that this is what Joe Biden’s America has come to. Having to pass common sense policies that protect women’s spaces was unimaginable just a few years ago. But here we are… we have to pass a law to protect women in bathrooms, sororities, locker rooms, dressing rooms, shower rooms, and more,” he wrote.

“There’s no doubt that the left will continue to come up with more kooky ideas that harm biological women. And there’s no doubt that Mississippi will continue to push back on them,” Reeves added.

The bill came earlier this month as part of a last-ditch effort by Mississippi Republicans who pushed the legislation through the House and Senate on the final day of session after negotiations prevented an earlier proposal from moving forward, the AP reported. State Republicans said they received a series of messages asking them to revive the bill. 

“This probably, to a lot of our constituents and to a lot of people in this chamber, is probably the most important bill that we brought up,” Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Dean Kirby said earlier this month, per the news wire.

Last year, Reeves signed into law a bill that bars medical professionals from providing gender-affirming care to transgender minors. During the signing ceremony in February, Reeves remarked there is a “dangerous movement spreading across America.”

It’s advancing under the guise of a false ideology and pseudo-science is being pushed on to our children through radical activists, social media and online influencers,” he continued, in reference to “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” a debunked theory that claims young people identify as transgender due to “social contagion.”

The SAFER Act is the latest in a series of bills introduced by conservative lawmakers targeting LGBTQ policies. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) estimates 515 bills have been introduced across the country this year.

Mississippi is one of 15 Republican-led states to have sued the Biden administration over new Title IV regulations that add protections for transgender students.

Last month, the Education Department announced sweeping changes to Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in schools and education programs that receive government funding, after more than a year of delays. The new regulations are slated to take effect Aug. 1 and also apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

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