Transgender students in South Carolina are only allowed to do sports according to their “biological sex”.

Governor Henry McMaster signed the law on Monday (local time), which is intended to exclude those affected from women’s sports. McMaster said on Twitter on Tuesday that he was proud to support the measure. South Carolina joins the growing group of mostly conservative US states that have legislated transgender sports.

Supporters of the law say transgender girls and women have an unfair biological advantage in sport because they were born boys who are physically stronger. Critics, on the other hand, argue that this is not about professional sport for the elite. The transgender students just wanted to lead a normal life with athletic competition.

Ivy Hill of an LGBTQ activist group warned against stigmatizing youth who are only “trying to master their adolescence, making friends and developing skills like teamwork and leadership”.

Oklahoma and Arizona enacted similar laws in late March and Tennessee in early May. The beginning of such legislation was Idaho in 2020. However, his law action and one by the state of West Virginia were blocked by courts.

Historically, transgender participation in sports in South Carolina has been decided on a case-by-case basis by the High School League. In the past five years, decisions have had to be made in fewer than six cases.