On Monday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the addition of five new states to the list of locations where California state-funded travel has been banned in response to anti-trans legislation. The addition of these states—Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia—brings the total number of locations to 17. All of the states on the list have put into place legislation “authorizing, or repealing existing protections against, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
Unsurprisingly, the newest additions to California’s “no fly outs” list were less than pleased with the news that the place with the fifth-largest economy in the world was cutting off travel to their state. The Republican Attorney General of West Virginia, Patrick Morrisey, issued a press release about the matter on Tuesday.
“The economic coercion demonstrated by California is an affront to the dignity of other co-sovereign states and amounts to legislating across state borders in an effort to force the radical world view of large states onto those living elsewhere.”
“States should not penalize other states because of policy differences,” he added. “Federalism works best when individual states can pursue policies supported by their own constituents, and in West Virginia our office will defend the state’s efforts to protect the integrity of women’s sports.”
In April, West Virginia passed a ban on trans athletes competing in girl’s and women’s sports at the middle school, high school, and college levels. Apparently, the attorney general is upset that California won’t just let them be violently transphobic without any consequences!
The gamble of withholding funding, support, and other resources as a means of putting political pressure on a governmental body is hardly a new one—just in April of this year, the MLB chose to move their All-Star game out of Atlanta after the state of Georgia passed a law severely restricting voting rights for people in the state. Although it’s certainly possible that California’s approach will ultimately increase the pressure on the state governments responsible for passing this violently transphobic legislation, it’s also possible that in the meantime, cutting off state-funded travel to these states could also make life more difficult for the actual trans people living in them.