The NCAA threatened states over anti-transgender bills. But the games went on.

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from The Washington Post,

In the deep-red state of Oklahoma, civil rights advocates are used to finding themselves nearly powerless to combat legislation targeting LGBTQ people. Sometimes, they say, all they can do is hold their breath and wait to see what happens.

But this year, amid a torrent of anti-transgender legislation sweeping through Republican-controlled legislatures, advocates in Oklahoma found what they believed was a powerful ally: the NCAA.

College sports are an economic powerhouse in Oklahoma, including the annual NCAA softball championship in Oklahoma City. This spring, as a bill to ban transgender girls and young people from participating in women’s sports moved through Oklahoma’s legislature, the threat of losing the Women’s College World Series and other NCAA tournaments made Republican lawmakers cautious.

Then, in April, the NCAA issued a statement that seemed to threaten to pull championships from states with anti-transgender bills — and appeared to stop the bill cold in the Oklahoma Senate, according to multiple state Republicans. LGBTQ advocates felt, finally, as if they could breathe.

But just a month later, the NCAA awarded regional championships in softball to three states that had passed their own bans on transgender children’s participation in sports.

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