Tennessee transgender sports bill reaction
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Tennessee House Bill 3 requires that middle and high school athletes compete in either boys or girls sports based on the student’s original birth certificate.
On Wednesday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee responded to a question about the proposed legislation saying transgender athletes would “destroy women’s sports” and hurt scholarship opportunities.
The Human Rights Campaign slammed the Governor’s comments and called the proposed bill “hateful anti-transgender legislation.”
The ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said it would jeopardize “transgender students’ mental health, physical well-being and ability to access educational opportunities compatible to their peers.”
Rep. Robin Smith is a co-sponsor of the bill.
“In contests where speed, strength, and musculoskeletal physics and structure are relevant, a distinction must be made, especially once the changes of puberty commence,” Rep. Smith said.
“Governor Lee’s dramatic statement regarding transgender athletes is flat out wrong. Despite the fact that trans people of all ages have been participating in sports consistent with their gender at all levels for years, we simply have not seen any dominance by trans athletes at any level of competition. Athletic success is based on many disparate factors that vary from sport to sport, and being transgender does not give girls who are trans an inherent advantage over girls who are not. Advocates for women and girls in sports, including the Women’s Sports Foundation and Women Leaders in College Sports, do not believe trans girls competing in girls’ sports is problematic. These groups support trans-inclusive policies and oppose efforts to exclude transgender students from participating in sports.
HB 3 singles out a group of students and, based on their gender identity, denies them access to extracurricular school activities. This hateful bill would prevent these students from participating in activities they love, jeopardizing transgender students’ mental health, physical well-being and ability to access educational opportunities comparable to their peers. 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.” – ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg
“Governor Lee has no idea what he’s talking about. We’d love to engage with Governor Lee if he can actually name a time when a transgender athlete in Tennessee ‘stole’ a scholarship from a cisgender athlete.”
“While he opines about the sanctity of women’s sports and breaking the glass ceiling, he has done nothing to close the gender pay gap or invest in women’s sports across Tennessee. This is paperthin grandstanding. Lee has no interest in equity, choosing instead to fearmonger and demonize children in his state. What he needs to understand is that 60% of Trump voters say transgender people should be able to live freely and openly. States that threaten to violate that principle have stared down billions in revenue losses as a result. Tennessee voters don’t want hateful anti-transgender legislation, they want economic relief and a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 10,000 Tennesseans to date.” – Human Rights Campaign Deputy National Campaign Director Hope Jackson
“When brains, not brawn are that which make the difference in competition, females certainly hold our own and excel. In contests where speed, strength, and musculoskeletal physics and structure are relevant, a distinction must be made, especially once the changes of puberty commence. The presence of testosterone offers a critical advantage that will create a construct for women that will be not only unfair but demoralizing.” – Rep. Robin Smith, (R-Hixson)