Updated as of 10:55 a.m. Sept. 21 to include comment from Coastal Athletic Association Commissioner Joe D’Antonio.

North Carolina lawmakers overrode Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act with the power of the Republican supermajority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The new law went into effect at the start of the academic year and bans “students of the male sex” from playing on all “athletic teams designated for females, women or girls.” This includes teams at the middle school, high school, intramural and collegiate level. 

With the passing of the bill, North Carolina joins a long list of states that have prohibited transgender women from playing in women’s sports. 

Former Democrat North Carolina Representative from District 63 Ricky Hurtado said he rather see state politicians working on more challenging issues facing public schools. 

“They have spent so much time and energy focused on challenges that don't really exist in our public schools when they should be focusing on the very real challenges that our schools face like the whole mold situation here and if they would have spent that time thinking about how we properly fund our public schools,” Hurtado said. 

Hurtado said state politicians are making this a much larger issue that is meant to divide people.

“Republicans in Raleigh, including our state delegation here of Senator Galey and Rep. Ross in particular, have really weighed the culture war in our public schools and are crafting solutions to problems that don't exist,” Hurtado said. “I think their attempts are misguided and something that they're using to distract us and divide us rather than actually helping our students succeed in our schools.”

Director of Elon University’s Gender and LGBTQIA Center Luis Garay said the GLC will support any student who wishes to participate in a university activity and expressed that they are available to students Mondays through Fridays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"The Gender and LGBTQIA Center at Elon supports the right of all students to fully participate in the activities of the university. The GLC is committed to supporting all trans students,” Garay wrote. “For those interested in learning more about LGBTQIA inclusion in sports, organizations like Athlete Ally and the You Can Play Project are fantastic resources."

Junior Belle Stephens, a member of Elon’s intramural soccer team, said she is displeased with the ban. Stephens said she sees this as a human right’s issue. 

“Transgender people are humans,” Stephens said. “They deserve to play sports because I find that to be inherently a human right.”

She said the ban may also have a detrimental impact on the mindsets of transgender people hoping to play sports.

“I think this will cause a rift in those people's lives and just another instance of society telling them that they don't belong, which is terrible,” Stephens said.

Stephens said this law may also lead to division within teams and communities that have previously included transgender athletes. 

“It definitely will cause rifts within teams within populations on campuses, even though it might not affect everyone because not everyone knows a transgender person or is a transgender person,” Stephens said. 

According to the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group — a bipartisan group of former elite athletes and sports administrators working to guarantee girls’ and women’s right to separate single-sex sports competitions — the inclusion of transgender women in women’s sports is unfair because of the key advantages biological men hold when it comes to athletic activities, including additional testosterone. 

In a previous interview with Elon News Network, senior Faith Minor said they believe that this bill wouldn’t only harm transgender student athletes, but cisgender students as well. 

“This idea that cisgender women can't hope to compete with anybody with a testosterone-based endocrine system is fundamentally misogynistic, before you even get into the transphobia of the whole argument,” Minor said. 

Senior Ryan Lockwood, the president of Elon College Republicans, said he reacted positively to the new ban.

“I was very in favor of it, and it's something I feel strongly about, so I was really happy to see it,” Lockwood said. 

Lockwood said he believes that the bill fights for North Carolina female athletes and female athletes across the United States.  

“It is important to preserve women’s sports and it is unfair for the female athletes who put in the hard work to compete against biological men,” Lockwood said.

Currently, there is not a federal bill about rules for transgender athletes in women’s sports. Policies vary by state, from no restrictions in some states to North Carolina’s outright ban of transgender women athletes in female sports. 

Lockwood said the disparity between states makes the issue a complicated one.

In addition to the lack of a uniform way of resolving the issue, there is also the matter of making sure that transgender people don’t feel excluded. Certain groups, such as WSPWG, believe there are ways to accommodate transgender athletes, while still maintaining a level of integrity and competition in women’s sports. 

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is still navigating the bill, considering current NCAA policy allows transgender student-athletes in women’s sports if they meet certain standards, such as documented testosterone levels. The NCAA did not respond to Elon News Network's request to comment.

According to Coastal Athletic Association Commissioner Joe D’Antonio, the CAA is still following the NCAA’s lead as of now. 

“We aren’t going to comment on a bill that is not in effect as of yet. As of now, we are following the NCAA’s Transgender Student-Athlete Participation Policy,” D’Antonio said.

The passage of this bill is a sign of more than just a desire of people to ban transgender athletes from sports, but a signal that North Carolina politics are transforming into a partisan process that is dominated by a singular party. The bill passed as a result of the Republican supermajority in the General Assembly, which was gained via the midterm elections last year and Representative Tricia Cotham’s switch from the Democratic party to the GOP. 

This supermajority is proving to be a powerful tool for the Republican party. They have been able to push through many Republican backed bills, such as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. 

“Obviously with the Republican majority, these kinds of things are going to take a pressing matter, and they're going to be prioritized,” Lockwood said.

Not even Cooper’s 76 vetoes since 2017 have been able to stop the supermajority because of the power the General Assembly has to override his vetoes. With the supermajority there is no buffer against Republican power. The Republican party has total control of North Carolina’s legislature. 

Despite the power it gives to his party, Lockwood acknowledges how this process can be a bit undemocratic. 

“I don't think we're at a great time of unity or bipartisanship, and it's pretty unfortunate,” Lockwood said.