The NCAA named Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee as host schools for softball regionals on Sunday, bringing its postseason tournament to three states that have passed laws requiring athletes to compete in interscholastic sports according to their sex at birth.
Legislation banning transgender athletes from competing in interscholastic sports has been introduced in dozens of states this year. Republican governors have signed such bills in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia. The Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia laws also cover college sports teams.
Proponents of bans on transgender athletes in sports argue that athletes who are born male have physiological advantages over those who are born female. Opponents believe the laws are discriminatory and part of a backlash by cultural conservatives against acceptance of transgender people. The issue has become part of the nation’s partisan divide, with former president Donald Trump speaking out in favor of the bans.
The NCAA allows transgender women to compete if they have taken testosterone-suppressing drugs for at least one year.