Tennessee lawmakers pass transgender sports ban
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WDEF) — The Tennessee House has approved the transgender sports bill, sending it to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
It bans transgender athletes from taking part in girls’ sports in Tennessee.
Middle and High School athletes will have to prove they are the sex that was originally on their birth certificates.
The vote was 71-16.
Republicans have been pushing similar legislation in at least 20 states this year.
Critics say the bill unfairly stigmatizes transgender students and no cases have come up in Tennessee at this point.
But sponsor rep. Scott Cepicky says it will maintain competitive balance, safety and the opportunity for advancement and scholarships of female athletes.
So far, only Idaho has actually enacted such a law, and it is tied up in the courts.
But three others, including Mississippi and Arkansas, have passed a version this spring.
The ACLU of Tennessee issued this statement from executive director Hedy Weinberg tonight.
“Today’s vote by state legislators embedding discrimination against transgender youth into state law is shameful. Transgender girls do not threaten women’s sports. Even the bill sponsors have admitted that they do not know of a single instance of a Tennessee student facing any harm from a transgender athlete playing sports. Transgender girls are girls. Transgender boys are boys. They simply want to participate in school sports for the same reason as anybody else: to find a sense of belonging and social engagement with their peers, to be a part of a team, and to challenge themselves. With this discriminatory and unconstitutional bill, lawmakers have now compromised trans children’s health, social and emotional development, and safety. Instead of focusing on fear-based myths, our state should focus on the actual issues with gender parity in sports when it comes to funding, resources, pay equity, and more. Promoting baseless fears about trans athletes does nothing to address those very real problems. We urge Governor Lee to reverse course and veto this bill or – should any transgender student be excluded because of this new law – we will see him in court.”