TN bill proposes gender at birth for student athletes

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Some are calling a new state bill in Tennessee an attack on transgender students. The measure would require students to play on the sports team of their gender at birth, regardless of how they currently identify.

“This is about ignorance, hate and discrimination,” Chris Sanders said.

Chris Sanders with the Tennessee equality project is talking about a new bill introduced by state representative Bruce Griffey.

The bill would require Tennessee student athletes to participate in sports based on their sex at birth.

“It is insulting to trans youth, it is an attack on them. Their state government should be serving them and not seeking ways to marginalize them further,” Sanders said.

Sanders says this is becoming a pattern from lawmakers — introducing bills he calls discriminatory.

“This bill is a part of the 2020 slate of hate, what we call the bills that attack the LGBTQ+ community,” he said.

But Representative Griffey says the bill isn’t designed to punish or discriminate.

“This is an attempt to try to make it fair, try to base it on your birth certificate at birth and so everyone has a fair shot at scholarships and a fair shot at winning,” Griffey said.

Griffey says there’s a reason why we have boys and girls sports.

“If we’re going to begin blurring the lines we’re really defeating the purpose of having fair competitions to begin with,” Griffey said.

In the end, the lawmaker says it comes down to science and experience.

“We all know that traditionally males generally have bigger hearts, bigger upper body strength and that can give them a genetic advantage when competing against women in a number of sports,” Griffey said.

If schools are caught willfully violating the guidelines under the bill, they could lose state funding- be disqualified and forced to pay a $10,000 fine.

“The issue is animist and the lack of understanding of the trans community,” Sanders said.

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