Both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly gave final approval to legislation that claims to protect the competitive balance of women’s sports last week.
House Bill 3 aims to ensure that female athletes are not discriminated against by clarifying that participation in public middle and high school interscholastic sports must correspond with a student’s biological gender at birth.
A weekly roundup from Tennessee Republican Rush Bricken states: “Local school districts have a legitimate interest and obligation to ensure they are not creating opportunities for undue injury to children who participate in interscholastic activities and sports. The bill ensures boys are not able to displace girls in competitive events which could deny female athletes’ victories, opportunities or scholarships.”
This past Friday (3/2/21), Governor Bill Lee signed SB 228/HB 0003, which prohibits transgender student athletes from participating in athletics consistent with their gender identity.
Hedy Weinberg, ACLU of Tennessee executive director had this reaction:
“Governor Lee’s rush to discriminate against transgender children is appalling. Transgender people have the right to participate in sports consistent with who they are, just like everyone else. Denying this right is pure discrimination.
“When Lee has made every effort to deny women the ability to make decisions about their own bodies, his grandstanding about protecting women’s rights by discriminating against transgender children is disingenuous at best. The marginalization of trans student athletes is rooted in the same kind of gender discrimination and stereotyping that has held back cisgender women athletes.
“Should any student be excluded because of this shameful legislation, we will see him in court.”