‘We are seeing more and more transgender athletes competing and posting victories in traditionally gendered sports…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A newly proposed Tennessee bill would prevent transgender-female athletes from competing on biological-female sports teams and instead require every individual athlete to participate on the team that corresponds with his or her biological sex.
HB 1572 would apply to public elementary and secondary schools in the state, according to the Tennessee Star, and it would include a $10,000 non-compliance fine for schools who refuse to enforce it.
“Each elementary and secondary school in this state that receives any type of public funding from this state or a local government, or both, shall require, for an official or unofficial school-sanctioned athletic or sporting event, that each athlete participating in the athletic or sporting event participates with and competes against other athletes based on the athlete’s biological sex as indicated on the athlete’s original birth certificate issued at the time of birth,” the bill reads.
Republican state Rep. Bruce Griffey, who introduced the bill, said the legislation is an attempt to protect female athletes and restore an equal playing field.
“We are seeing more and more transgender athletes competing and posting victories in traditionally gendered sports competitions, and doing so to the detriment of girls and women biologically born female,” Griffey said. “Boys and men, due to testosterone levels, bigger bone structure, greater lung capacity, and larger heart size, have physical advantages in sports relative to girls and women.”
The Tennessee law seeks to fix a problem being felt across the country as female athletes struggle to compete against their transgender peers. The Department of Education even agreed to open an investigation into a Connecticut school district after a female student complained that she was being discriminated against when her school allowed a transgender, male student to compete against her.
Three Connecticut high school female athletes brought the complaint to the Department of Education after they were sidelined and unable to compete at a higher level after the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference decided it would allow biological males to compete in girls-only athletic events.
One of the athletes, Selina Soule, was sidelined by two men who beat her, which meant she didn’t qualify for the New England regionals.
Griffey said his bill would prevent this kind of discrimination from occurring in Tennessee’s schools, unlike the federal Equality Act, which would ensure that gender identity is a “protected status” under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushing through passage in the U.S. House of Representative HR 5 — the Equality Act — that, among other things, creates a civil right for male athletes to self-identify as females in sports competitions, I believe it is important for states to take a stand,” Griffey said. “This is what I seek to do through the filing of House Bill 1572.”