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Disagreement Arises Over Bill About Transgender Athletes

A bill sponsored by two South Central Tennessee legislators has been criticized by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Joey Hensley, 28th District State Senator and doctor from Hohenwald, and State Rep. Scott Cepicky, 64th District State Representative from Culleoka, are sponsoring bills to require that a student’s gender to determine participation in middle school or high school interscholastic sports be the student’s sex at birth.

The bills would allow only girls, whose sex was determined at birth, to compete with other girls in middle school and high school sports. To do otherwise, Hensley said, would be unfair to girls and girls sports.

Not so, said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“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,” she said,

“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,” Weinberg said,

Advocates for women and girls in sports such as the Women’s Sports Foundation and Women Leaders in College Sports support trans-inclusive policies and oppose efforts to exclude transgender students from participating in sports, she said.

“The ACLU needs to work on having level playing fields for boys and girls,” Hensley said,

Boys have some physical advantages over girls, and transgenders don’t need to be in same locker rooms with girls, he said.

“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.”

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