Tennessee bill aims to protect girls sports from males who claim to be females
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NASHVILLE, Tennessee, March 3, 2021, (LifeSiteNews) — The Tennessee State Senate on Monday passed a bill that would prevent transgender students from participating in middle school and high school sports outside of their biological gender. SB 0228/HR 003, which was filed by Republican Senators Joey Hensley and Scott Cepicky, will now be considered by the House, but a date has yet to be set.
SB 0228 reads, “As introduced, (the bill) requires that a student’s gender for purposes of participation in a public middle school or high school interscholastic athletic activity or event be determined by the student’s sex at the time of the student’s birth, as indicated on the student’s original birth certificate.”
A similar bill, SB 208, was proposed in the Kansas State Senate in February. The Kansas bill emphasized, “Because of innate physiological differences, boys and girls are not similarly situated as they enter athletic competition … high school boys (generally possess physiological advantages over) their girl counterparts … those advantages give them an unfair lead over girls in some sports like high school track.”
Georgia also has a similar bill making its way through the legislature: HB 372. It seeks to make plain that “‘Gender’ means a person’s biological sex at birth and shall be recognized based on a person’s reproductive organs at birth.” HB 372 is being advanced by Republicans for the sake of clarity in dealing with educational programs.
Earlier this year, Rep. Greg Steube of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced bill HR 426, which is more commonly known as the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2021.” HR 426 reads, “It shall be a violation … for a recipient of Federal funds who operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs or activities to permit a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.”
The growing popularity behind these types of proposals is due to the increasing desire to safeguard girls and women, not just from injury, but from having to compete unjustly against males. These bills, if passed into law, would protect the “social, educational and career opportunities Title IX gave American women and girls,” according to Sen. Renee Erickson, a Wichita Republican.
Title IX was originally instituted to provide equal opportunity to women and men in athletic programs of educational institutions that receive federal funding. Proponents of bills that seek to maintain sports as separated by biological sex argue that allowing entry of biological males — even if they identify as females — into female sports would dismantle any real progress made by women since the implementation of Title IX and hand over opportunities, accolades, or scholarships provided to women back into the hands of men in both female and male sports.
However, opponents of such bills deny there exist unfair physical male advantages with the use of puberty blockers, believing blockers should even the playing field for males and females.
The Kansas bill refutes the claim:
(T)he benefits that natural testosterone provides to male athletes is not diminished through the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. A recent study on the impact of such treatments found that even “after 12 months of hormonal therapy,” a man who identifies as a woman and is taking cross-sex hormones “had an absolute advantage” over female athletes and “will still likely have performance benefits” over women.
Tennessee Democrats are taking aim at the proposal by shifting the focus to the timing of the bill, stating that there is no need to pass any such laws when there has not been any transgender participation in school sports in Tennessee to date.
According to the Tennessean, Democrat Sen. Heidi Campbell of Nashville said, “The argument in favor of this legislation is about hypothetical situations that might happen.”
“What isn’t hypothetical is the tearful moms of trans kids I spoke to on the phone last week, worried about psychological effects that this bill has on their child, or the pediatricians who have emailed me that this bill will hurt children and cause irreparable damage to them psychologically and physically,” she added.
But Tennessee Republican Senator Kerry Roberts of Springfield argues that this needs to be dealt with now. “For anyone in this chamber to say that this is not a problem or this is not going to be a problem, or we don’t need to deal with it … it is a problem that is emerging with a great deal with steam,” he said. “To deny that it’s a problem is to deny reality.”